By Andrew Bisset.
2 November 2020 (4 months ago)
The current situation
Covid-19 has been ubiquitous in its spread since the beginning, claiming over a million of lives worldwide and leaving others gripping in pain and fear. As we are breathing a sigh of relief due to the slower outbreaks since June, the UK has seen a sudden spike of cases recently, indicating a much-feared resurgence of the corona pandemic. If the country experiences a second wave of coronavirus, we are potentially dealing with an approximate increase of unemployment up to 15% according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Another undesirable forecast by OECD indicates that UK is most likely to suffer from theworst damage from the Covid-19 crisis of any country in the developed world.
The best common indicator of a growing economy is Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or simply the market value of goods and services produced. As of June 2020, the monthly GDP was7.2% below the level of February 2020, even though there was a rise by 8.7% compared with May 2020. (The index levels at February, May and June are 105.5, 80.4, 87.3 respectively.)
As a services-reliant country, it is unfortunate to report that the total service outputduring June 2020 continued to be significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, at 17.6% below February 2020 level, the last full month of “normal” operating conditions.
To further understand the impact of the pandemic economically, several surveys have been conducted. According to the latest Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey, 11% of the workforce were on furlough and 85% of businesses were currently trading, which is broadly comparable with the previous wave (12% and 84%, respectively). Of businesses who have not permanently stopped trading, when weighted by employment, 11% of their workforce were on partial or full furlough leave, 24% were working remotely, and 62% were working at their normal place of work. Most importantly, 45% of trading businesses said that their turnover had decreased compared with what is normally expected at this time of year.
Based on the latest weekly bulletin undertaken through the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the levels of socialising, eating out and travel have declined this week* after increasing throughout the summer. Meanwhile, the percentage of adults leaving their home to meet with people in a personal place saw a large decrease. Only 2 out of 10 adults (20%) are willing to do so compared to 30% last week*, suggesting a greater awareness of the upturn in the coronavirus.
In regards to the impact on life, nearly three quarters (74%) of adults are worried about the effect of COVID-19. The major concerns reported by adults were lack of freedom and independence and personal travel plans being affected.
There was also a significant decrease in the proportion of working adults that report travelling to work at least some of the time. In contrast, we saw an increase in percentage that worked exclusively at home. This was mainly due to the advice given by their employers.
Besides that, more than half of the adults (53%) claimed that they are very or somewhat worried about students returning to universities this year. Of those who have people in the household attending university this year, the three largest concerns are:
1.The quality of education due to changes made
2.Catching coronavirus at university
3.Impact on mental health and wellbeing
[* This week refers to responses collected during the period 24 to 27 September 2020 and last week refers to responses received during the period 16 to 20 September 2020.]
The pandemic is a stark reminder of the importance of solidarity. Instead of blaming one another in this time of uncertainty, we as humans should work together to battle this common threat. Until every country is safe, no country will be safe.