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Impact of lockdown on key workers: findings from the COVID-19 survey in four UK national longitudinal studies

Topriceanu, C-C; Wong, A; Moon, JC; Hughes, AD; Chaturvedi, N; Conti, G; Bann, D; ... Captur, G; + view all (2021) Impact of lockdown on key workers: findings from the COVID-19 survey in four UK national longitudinal studies. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 10.1136/jech-2020-215889. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Key workers played a pivotal role during the national lockdown in the UK's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although protective measures have been taken, the impact of the pandemic on key workers is yet to be fully elucidated. METHODS: Participants were from four longitudinal age-homogeneous British cohorts (born in 2001, 1990, 1970 and 1958). A web-based survey provided outcome data during the first UK national lockdown (May 2020) on COVID-19 infection status, changes in financial situation, trust in government, conflict with people around, household composition, psychological distress, alcohol consumption, smoking and sleep duration. Generalised linear models with logit link assessed the association between being a key worker and the above outcomes. Adjustment was made for cohort design, non-response, sex, ethnicity, adult socioeconomic position (SEP), childhood SEP, the presence of a chronic illness and receipt of a shielding letter. Meta-analyses were performed across the cohorts. FINDINGS: 13 736 participants were included. During lockdown, being a key worker was associated with increased chances of being infected with COVID-19 (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.22 to 1.68) and experiencing conflict with people around (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.37). However, key workers were less likely to be worse off financially (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.65), to consume more alcohol (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.79 to 0.98) or to smoke more (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.80) during lockdown. Interestingly, being a key worker was not associated with psychological distress (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.05). INTERPRETATION: Being a key worker during the first UK COVID-19 lockdown was a double-edged sword, with both benefits and downsides. The UK government had the basic duty to protect its key workers from SARS-CoV-2 infection, but it may have failed to do so, and there is an urgent need to rectify this in light of the ongoing third wave.

Type: Article
Title: Impact of lockdown on key workers: findings from the COVID-19 survey in four UK national longitudinal studies
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/jech-2020-215889
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2020-215889
Language: English
Additional information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Keywords: epidemiology, health impact assessment, public health
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Clinical Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10125743
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