COVID-19 has been with us since the end of 2019. And it is not going anywhere, regardless of our vaccination efforts. But are people still concerned about the virus or is it becoming old news? Scientists from UCL decided to find out and discovered that currently a fifth of people are worried about catching Covid-19.
This data is from an ongoing UCL Covid-19 Social Study, involving 70,000 participants. They have been followed across the last 64 weeks and had to answer some questions about their attitudes towards COVID-19 situation. Scientists found that in the 18-29 year old age group 28 % of the people are worried about contracting this pandemic disease. Interestingly, in this age group worrying about COVID-19 has been increasing for some time. Meanwhile older people are actually worried less, even though COVID-19 is much more dangerous for the older population.
Only 20 % of adults ages 30-59 are worried about catching COVID-19. Meanwhile in the population 60 and up this number is even lower – just 19 % are worried. COVID-19 is the most dangerous for people ages 60 and up. However, people seem to be complying with regulations – 91 % said that they comply with at least a majority of COVID-19 rules, while 45 % show complete compliance with the regulations. COVID-19 numbers have been decreasing due to vaccination efforts as well as summer coming along (UV rays kill viruses). In fact, vaccination can be one of the factors why young people are worried more despite the improving situation.
That is because vaccination programmes usually prioritize people in higher risk groups. Young people are pretty strong against COVID-19 infection and, therefore, were not a priority in vaccination efforts. This means that worrying of younger people is likely related to them not being vaccinated at all. Also, younger people tend to spend more of their time online, reading bad news regarding COVID-19 situation.
On the other hand, this study also found that happiness and life satisfaction has been increasing among respondents since the end of January this year. Again, however, younger people are more worried about the economic impact. Cheryl Lloyd, one of the authors of the study, said: “As furlough ends and uncertainty in the job market continues, the government should consult young people on how best to support them, not only financially but also through access to training, mental health support and housing.”
COVID-19 is becoming old news. You can only pay attention for that long. And policy makers will have to think about the mental state of people if they want them to continue living by COVID-19 rules in autumn when pandemic stats are going to start becoming worse again.