After all restrictions were lifted, virtual participation in many activities has remained widespread — ScienceDaily


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New analysis shows how U.K. residents changed the time they spent on different activities during the pandemic. This includes whether they were online or in person. These findings are presented by Lan Li, University College London Centre for Digital Health in Emergencies, U.K. and his colleagues in the open-access journal PLOS ONEThis entry was posted on July 13, 20,22.

To prevent viral spread, the U.K. joined many other countries when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted. There is increasing evidence that such restrictions have had a significant impact on people’s lives worldwide. It is not clear, however, how U.K. residents’ behavior changed as different restrictions were lifted.

Li and his colleagues conducted six surveys online of U.K. residents from April 2020 to July 2021. They were able to track 203 respondents who had responded to multiple surveys. These surveys asked about 16 types of activities that respondents did during the different phases of pandemic.

The statistical analysis of responses revealed that cultural activities, time with friends, and traveling accounted for the largest changes in time spent. The March-June 2020 lockdown period saw the most dramatic changes, with participation in 16 activities decreasing. The largest shift from in person to online participation took place between March and October 2020. This period included the first lockdown, followed by relaxation of restrictions.

All restrictions in the U.K. were removed on July 19, 2021. This analysis showed that participation in group and cultural activities was lower than it was before the pandemic. Many respondents still participated in activities online, according to the majority.

These findings could assist U.K. policymakers in understanding the consequences of pandemic restraints. The researchers will continue to study how demographic factors such as age, employment and mental health may have affected the results.

Professor Patty Kostova is the director of UCL dPHE, and also the principal of the study.

Lan Li continues: “This longitudinal research determines the frequency of people doing activities between Spring 2020 and Summer 2021 in different phases of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the UK. These findings give valuable insight into how UK residents changed their lifestyles, including the activities they engage in and how they access them given the COVID-19 pandemic.

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