Covid-19: Almost half expect it to take two years for 'normal' life to return

Covid-19: Almost half expect it to take two years for 'normal' life to return

While some people are enjoying spending more quality time with people they live with, many people are also rating their life satisfaction as low. File Picture.

More than 70% of people believe that going to level 5 restrictions on the back of rising Covid-19 cases was the right move – but there are warning signs that restrictions are taking a heavy toll on mental health, official data has found.

A Central Statistics Office (CSO) survey on the effects of level 5 in November, at the height of the second lockdown, found almost two-thirds rating their compliance with Government advice and guidelines as high, compared with four in five who rated their compliance as high in April.

Just over 39% believe normal life will return in the next year, with more than 45% believing it will take up to two years. More than 4% believe their lives will never return to normal.

The CSO found that mental health and morale was dropping significantly.

In November, more than a third rated their overall life satisfaction as low, compared with just under 30% in April. This compares to just under 9% in 2018. 

The percentage of respondents that felt downhearted or depressed all or most of the time in the four-week period prior to interview doubled between April and November 2020, from 5.5% to 11.5%, the survey found.

More than 41% said that their consumption of junk food has spiked since the pandemic's onset.

Almost three in 10 said spending more quality time with the people they live with is an aspect of their lives that has changed for the better since the onset of the pandemic.

More than 27% of those surveyed working from home said they were finding it more difficult, but 37% said it was getting easier. Almost 36% said there was no difference as time passes.

Statistician Claire Burke said: "The findings of the survey serve to highlight the impact that COVID-19 is having on society. 

Women were twice as likely to report they felt downhearted or depressed all or most of the time – 15.5% compared with 7.3% of men.

She added that analysis by age shows that 18 to 34-year-olds were most likely to report being downhearted or depressed all or most of the time, but those aged 55 to 69 and over 70 years were least likely.

More than 21% who consume alcohol reported an increase in their consumption than before the onset of the crisis, the survey found.

However, more than a quarter reported a decrease and more than half reported no change. 

Tobacco consumption has increased in 27% of users, with 17% using less.

Overall, respondents believed they were less likely to contract Covid-19 in November than in April.

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