Two years into pandemic, ‘one in eight’ think life will never return to normal

Around one in eight adults in Britain think that, two years on from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, life will never return to normal – though nearly one in 10 believe things are already back to how they were.

ore than half of adults are still avoiding crowded places and spending more time at home, while over three-quarters said they intend to carry on sanitising their hands regularly and wearing face coverings.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), provide a snapshot of how people’s daily lives have changed since coronavirus first spread across the country in March 2020.

They suggest that despite most Covid-19 restrictions having been lifted last month, a majority of adults in Britain are still washing their hands frequently or using hand gel (81%), wearing face coverings (76%), avoiding crowded places (57%) and spending more time at home (53%).

The figures vary across different age groups, however, with only 33% of 16 to 24-year-olds avoiding crowded places, compared with 71% of people aged 70 and over.

Some 61% of young adults say they are continuing to wear face coverings, but this rises to 85% for over-70s.

Around one in six respondents (16%) said they are no longer going into work or school when experiencing cold or flu symptoms, suggesting people have become less inclined to carry on with their daily routine when they are feeling poorly or under the weather.

This figure is highest among those aged 25 to 34 (28%), dropping to 23% for 35 to 49-year-olds, 22% for 16-24 year-olds and just 10% for people aged 50 to 69.

There are also sharp variations across different groups over the question of when – and if – life will ever return to normal.

The ONS survey suggests nearly one in 10 adults (9%) believe life is already back to how it was before Covid-19, though the number is even higher among 16 to 24-year-olds (15%), more than all other age groups including the over-70s (6%) and those aged 25 to 34 (5%).

Some 6% of disabled people think their life has returned to normal compared with 11% of non-disabled people.

But two years on from the start of the pandemic, one in eight (12%) of all adults think their lives will never be back to how they were.

This figure rises to almost one in seven (15%) of people aged 70 and over, the highest figure for any age group, followed by 50-60 year-olds (14%), people aged 16 to 24 (13%), 25 to 34-year-olds (11%) and 35 to 39-year-olds (9%).

Slightly more men (13%) than women (11%) think life will never be back to normal, with a larger gap between people who are disabled (16%) and non-disabled (10%).

All figures are based on a survey of more than 3,000 adults in Britain between February 16 and 27.



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