Covid less worrying than cost-of-living crisis to most Brits – survey

38 percent of people are worried about their finances compared to 33 percent who are concerned about getting Covid-19

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More people are worried about their finances than about catching Covid-19, a new survey has found.

Almost four in 10 people (38 percent) are worried about their finances an increase from 32 percent in January and the highest level since the start of the pandemic,

This compares to just 33 percent who are concerned about getting Covid-19, down from 40 percent in January, according to researchers at University College London (UCL).

Researchers of the Covid-19 Social Study said the changes reflect concerns about the cost-of-living crisis, while the lifting of legal restrictions in England has affected how people view coronavirus.

The findings are based on a survey of 28,495 people between March 21 and 27 across the UK.

The results come despite UK Covid infections remaining near or at record levels, with only Scotland seeing a drop in numbers.

SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon during a visit to west Belfast food bank ahead of a cost of living summit
SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon during a visit to west Belfast food bank ahead of a cost of living summit
Prevalence of Covid-19 in the UK
Prevalence of Covid-19 in the UK

Some 4.88 million people in private households in the UK are estimated to have had the virus last week, down very slightly from a record 4.91 million in the previous week.

The research also found that 56 percent of people feel in control of their finances compared to 63 percent in October last year.

Working age adults were twice as likely as older people to report concerns.

There has also been a drop in happiness and life satisfaction levels month-on-month since the summer of 2021.

Some 49 percent said they feel in control of their mental health, down from 54 percent six months ago and the the proportion of people with symptoms of anxiety and depression is at its highest level for 11 months.

Piggy bank is smashed open with a hammer
Piggy bank is smashed open with a hammer

Lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt, from UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, said: “These findings could suggest that our return to more ‘normal’ living has not had all the mental health benefits that people necessarily expected.

“But it is also notable that the last few months have seen a cost-of-living crisis emerge.

“Concerns about money have been increasing, with people now more concerned about finances than about Covid-19.

“This suggests that new psychological stressors are becoming dominant for individuals.”

Dr Fancourt said the significant drop in people worried about catching the virus comes alongside a decline in people following previous advice to wear face coverings, socially distance and test regularly.

She continued: “Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the number of Covid cases, hospitalisations and deaths remains equivalent or higher than in January 2022, meaning that the overall situation remains unchanged despite the shift in attitude.”

The study is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, UK Research and Innovation, and Wellcome.