Hopes life will return to normal in six months ‘at highest level since July’

PA

Hopes that life will return to normal within six months are at their highest level since July, new figures show.

More than a quarter (28%) of adults in Britain believe life will return to normal within half a year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

However, 33% feel this will take between seven to twelve months and 18% that it will be longer than a year.

The ONS analysed responses from 4,151 adults surveyed between December 2 and 6.

On December 2, the UK became the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine when the medicines regulator gave the green light for the Pfizer jab.

Covid-19 survey: life returning to normal
Covid-19 survey: life returning to normal

Hopes have been steadily rising since late October, when 9% felt life would return to normal within six months, and the latest vaccine news may have further boosted optimism.

The last time such a high proportion felt this way was between July 8 and 12.

However, levels of depression and anxiety have remained high throughout the pandemic, and a smaller proportion of people with these mental health conditions are feeling hopeful about life returning to normal.

Almost one in five adults (19%) had symptoms of depression in November, as they did in June – up from 10% before the pandemic.

And 17% experienced anxiety in November, while 48% said the pandemic was affecting their wellbeing.

Young people, women, disabled adults and those unable to afford an unexpected expense of £850 were more likely to report some form of depression or anxiety.

Of those experiencing anxiety or depression, 81% said the pandemic was affecting their wellbeing.

People with depression were eight times as likely to say they felt lonely often or always – 26% compared with 3% of those with no or mild depressive symptoms.

And just 15% of those with depression and 16% of those with anxiety felt life will return to normal within six months, compared with 25% of adults without symptoms.

Tim Vizard, ONS principal research officer, said: “Our research today shows that one in five adults in Great Britain experienced some form of depression in November.

“This is similar to levels reported earlier in the year, but double that reported before the pandemic. We’ve also found similar rates of anxiety in adults in Great Britain.

“It’s also interesting to see that since late October, more adults say they believe life will return to normal within six months.

“However a lower proportion of adults experiencing some form of anxiety and/or depression felt this was the case.”

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