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COVID-19 Impact on Aussies

19 May 2020 by News Desk

COVID-19 Impact on Aussies: Loneliness was the most widely reported source of personal stress for Australians during April, according to the latest ABS survey.

Figures show that loneliness affected more women (28 per cent) than men (16 per cent).

“Around one in five people (19 per cent) also reported that they were experiencing difficulties maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” said Michelle Marquardt, ABS Program Manager for Household Surveys

“This is more of a problem for those aged 18 to 64 years (22 per cent) than those aged 65 years and over (9 per cent),”

The survey also highlighted changes to people’s lifestyles during the period early-April to early-May, including:

22 per cent who said they are eating more snack foods such as chips, lollies and biscuits;

58 per cent who reported spending more time in front of their television, computer, phone or other device; and

29 per cent who reported less frequent consumption of takeaway or delivered meals, while 38 per cent spent more time cooking or baking.

Compared with March, fewer people were taking the following precautions in late-April to early-May: keeping distance from people (94 per cent compared with 98 per cent in March);

Purchasing additional household supplies (21 per cent compared with 47 per cent in March) and purchasing additional medical supplies (8 per cent compared with 29 per cent in March)

The proportion of Australians who said they were wearing a face mask remained about the same – 17 per cent in March and 15 per cent in late-April to early-May.

COVID-19 Impact on Aussies

“Australians have also made significant changes to their working lives, with nearly half (46 per cent) of all working Australians working from home in late April and early May,” Ms Marquardt said.

“Of those who were not working from home, 89% reported they couldn’t due to the type of job they had.”

“Women were more likely than men to have been working from home (56 per cent compared with 38 per cent).”

Ms Marquardt added that “During the period from early April to early May, one in six Australians aged 18 years and over (17 per cent) used a Telehealth service. Almost half (43 per cent*) said the Telehalth service was a replacement for a previously arranged face-to-face appointment.”

Nearly half (46%) of working Australians said they were working from home, with women more likely to do so than men (56% compared with 38%);

The majority of Australians were continuing to keep their distance from people outside the household (94%) and avoid public spaces (85%) to protect their health;

The most commonly experienced personal stressor due to COVID-19 was loneliness (22%), with women more likely to report feeling lonely than men (28% compared with 16%); and

One in six Australians (17%) used a Telehealth service in the previous four weeks, with persons with a mental health condition more likely to do so than those without a mental health condition (33%* compared with 15%).

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