The year 2020 will go down in history as one that saw the world press pause on overseas travel, large social gatherings and life as we knew it due to COVID-19. According to our third phase of research exploring the impacts of COVID-19, it has been a challenging year and almost nine in ten Australians (88%) are excited to close the door on 2020 and start 2021.
While COVID-19 has caused massive shutdowns across Australia and changed the way we live, work and play, the majority of Australians’ physical health has been unaffected by the virus. More than three quarters of Australians (77%) haven’t personally tested positive or know anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
2020, the year of change
This unique year has pushed many of us to our limits with seven in ten Australians (70%) never having experienced this much change in their life before. A similar proportion (69%) are worried and anxious about the future. While more than half of Australians (56%) are struggling to find anything good in 2020, more than three in four (76%) are taking the opportunity to reprioritise their lives to spend time on what is important to them.
Changes caused by COVID-19 have not all been positive
Overall, the experience of COVID-19 has been more negative than positive for Australians. The areas where Australians have seen the greatest long-term negative impacts are in their travel and lifestyle (65%), life events such as weddings, funerals, graduations (49%), financial health (41%) and mental health (40%). The only two areas where the positives slightly outweigh the negatives are in family and relationships (30% positive cf. 27% negative) and spirituality (20% positive cf. 15% negative).
COVID-19 taking a toll on young Australians’ mental and financial health
Younger Australians are seeing long-term negative impacts of COVID-19 on their mental and financial health. Young Australian’s are 5.4 times more likely to believe COVID-19 has had a long-term negative impact on their mental health than older Australians (54% Gen Y cf. 10% Builders). Similarly, more than two in five young Australian’s believe COVID-19 has negatively impacted their financial health (40% Gen Z, 47% Gen Y cf. 43% Gen X, 35% Baby Boomers, 30% Builders).