Society and Health
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme partly mitigated the indirect consequences of the pandemic on population health. During the early stages of the pandemic findings from 8 Longitudinal Population Studies show no clear evidence of furlough having adverse impacts on physical health or behaviours (smoking, vaping, drinking). Those furloughed had increased risk for poor mental and social wellbeing. However, their excess risk was lower in magnitude than those who became or remained unemployed, suggesting that furlough partly mitigated poorer outcomes.
Policy implication: Social protection policies should be implemented in the post-pandemic recovery period and during future economic crises.
People with prior mental ill health hit harder by pandemic disruption. In 12 Longitudinal Population Studies, people who had higher pre-pandemic levels of depression or anxiety have been more severely affected by disruption to jobs and healthcare.
Policy Implication: Inequality between those with and without mental health problems should be taken into account when provisioning current and post-pandemic health, economic and well-being support.
The pandemic led to unequal healthcare disruptions, which, if unaddressed, could contribute to the widening of existing health inequalities. Using data across 12 UK population studies we show that females, ethnic minority groups and those in a more disadvantaged social class were more likely to report healthcare disruptions.
Policy Implication: Action is needed to remedy these inequalities, and efforts to ensure continuity of care during pandemic-related disruptions may need to be more clearly targeted to those who most need that care.
Long-COVID Longitudinal Qualitative Study Review
Long-Covid (LC), as a patient-defined illness, has rapidly emerged as both a medical and social issue since 2020, drawing headlines in the public and global domain. In the UK, people experiencing ongoing symptoms of Covid after the initial infection came together online to try to make sense and gain recognition of their condition. Academic research into LC is constantly evolving and seeks to understand the illness from the perspective of those suffering from it. We conducted a rapid literature review to explores existing studies into LC (up to August 2021), capturing the narratives of people who have adapted to live with LC. The literature largely focuses on providing an initial understanding of LC, how the illness emerged, and the fluctuating symptoms managed by those with LC. Although the literature is predominantly descriptive and has a lack of focus on the ongoing experiences of LC, narratives of making sense of, managing, and living with the illness over time are brought forward. In this briefing paper, we will present such narratives to shed light on the stories of those living with LC, and further to think more theoretically to understand the lived experiences of LC and their impact on the multifaceted aspects of LC patients’ lives.