Throughout the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, London-based online market research agency FlyResearch has been issuing weekly polls to its research panel of over 3000 people, to project how the outbreak and the implementing of social distancing and other restrictions has impacted the daily life of UK citizens.
Up until the 32nd week of the Covid-19 tracker survey [published on November 6 and sourced from data collected on October 30, 2020], The Leaders Council published a weekly review of the findings provided by FlyResearch managing partner, Greg Ward. However, from that point on owing to the speed of changes to restrictions, the weekly tracker survey switched to a monthly poll with reviews of the findings coming every four weeks. The previous review was published on April 23, 2021.
The latest review is sourced from data collected between May 21 and May 27 and is set to be the penultimate survey conducted before the monthly polls undergo a hiatus after 60 per cent of the FlyResearch panel voted to pause the tracker survey after June.
Conducting his customary analysis of the survey’s findings for The Leaders Council, Ward explained that circulating headlines about the threat of new Covid variants over recent weeks had impacted the mood and emotions of participants.
Highlighting the figures, he said: “We have seen the proliferation of people saying they feel ‘hopeful’ about the future recede from 58 per cent to 53 per cent, while those feeling ‘concerned’ rose to 35 per cent from 31 per cent one month ago. We can deduce that news about new Covid variants, predominantly the Indian variant, is responsible for this. Other emotions, however, seem largely unchanged.”
In terms of people’s personal health, the figures remain largely unchanged from the previous month with 40 per cent reporting that their emotional health has suffered as a direct result of the pandemic and 48 per cent saying that they have not suffered from ill health at all. One per cent replied that they have at some stage suffered from severe Covid symptoms, eight per cent report having at some stage experienced mild symptoms without being tested, and three per cent claim to have felt minor symptoms and returned a positive test at any period throughout the last 14 months.
There has been some shift from the previous month with regards to employment statistics, with 43 per cent [a decrease of three per cent on the previous month] reporting to still be in full-time employment either at work or at home, and ten per cent [an increase of three per cent on last month] now furloughed.
Meanwhile, the growing trend toward greater approval for the government’s handling of the pandemic as more restrictions ease appears to have reversed.
Ward commented: “The approval rating has taken a dip, with the proportion of respondents rating the government’s response in the one to four range [out of ten] having gone up from 27 per cent to 31 per cent. Elsewhere, 34 per cent of the panel feels that the government is moving too quickly in easing social restrictions, compared to just 23 per cent who felt so last month.
“Perhaps the reasoning behind this is that there appears an eagerness for the government to press on with plans to ease restrictions despite the threat of new variants.”
In the latest survey, given that hugging others has now been permitted again following the latest milestone in the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, FlyResearch quizzed panel members on how comfortable they really felt hugging people again.
The findings on “hugging” yielded an almost equal three-way split, with 29 per cent wishing to steer clear of hugging people for a while longer; 34 per cent wishing to hug close friends and family members as they did pre-Covid; and 30 per cent commenting that they do not tend to hug people in any case. Five per cent of respondents reported that they have been missing close contact with others and would look to hug people as much as possible.
The return of indoor hospitality in May gave rise to another guest question in the latest poll, focusing on how respondents feel about eating out again. 41 per cent reported that they may start venturing out to hospitality venues again cautiously, while 15 per cent said that they would go all out and make the most of hospitality venues being open again.
On the other hand, 29 per cent of the panel suggested that they would refrain from going to restaurants for a little while longer until they were sure it is safe to do so, and 15 per cent simply said they do not tend to eat out in any case.