Financial stability and medical breakthroughs are among the positive developments that would cheer Britons up most during the coronavirus crisis, according to a new survey.
With the UK in lockdown since 23 March, topics such as successful vaccine testing, the freedom to visit friends and family and financial stability are high on the list of topics that would give people a more optimistic outlook on the future.
An online poll, conducted between 1 and 4 May by Ipsos Mori, asked 1,077 British adults aged 18-75 the question: “How much of a difference, if any, would each of the following have on how optimistic you feel?” in relation to the UK’s ongoing social distancing measures.
The vast majority (83%) of those surveyed said the announcement of a successful vaccine would make a positive difference to their mood during the COVID-19 crisis.
The news would make the most difference among those aged 55-75, with a further 90% of this age group would feel the same way, it added.
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Nearly three-quarters – or 73% – said they would feel more optimistic if they knew their income wouldn’t be affected (rising to 80% of 18-34-year olds).
Three in four people would also feel more positive about the future should they be able to visit a small selection of friends and family.
About two-thirds (66%) of the British public would be able to feel more optimistic if they knew when the current restrictions are going to ease, rising to 74% of 18-34-year olds.
A further 64% would also feel more optimistic if they were able to take a test to tell them if they have, or have had, COVID-19, whilst two-thirds of parents would be more optimistic if their children went back to school.
However, the results showed two in five people are desperate to escape people they are self isolating with – 40% believing that spending time away from those they’re self-isolating with will have a positive difference on their outlook.
But 42% of respondents said it would make little change, if any, to their outlook on the future.
Young people are twice as likely to find this appealing than older groups (57% of 18-34s vs 27% of 55-75-year olds).
Meanwhile, nearly half (48%) of workers think returning to their place of work will have a positive difference on their mental outlook.
About 56% of those at the start of their careers, aged 18-34, think going back to the ‘office’ will help with their positivity, compared to 40% of people aged 55-75.
Ipsos MORI’s head of political research, Gideon Skinner said the results showed that advances on big questions could lift the “public’s mood”.
“There is little sign the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on people’s wellbeing and their outlook is getting much easier,” he said.
“But there is light at the end of the tunnel – advances on the big questions such as developing a vaccine, being able to reassure people about their incomes, and allowing even a small amount of mixing with family and friends could all lift the public’s mood.
“It’s probably no coincidence that these are some of the hardest questions to answer, but even showing some movement could make a difference.”