COVID-19 anxiety in Victoria felt Australia-wide

Media Release

Feelings of anxiety and depression because of the COVID-19 pandemic are being shared across the country, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS head of Household Surveys, Michelle Marquardt said: “While Victoria has experienced the greatest surge in recent cases of COVID-19, our latest Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey showed that the affects on how Australians are feeling are country-wide.

“In fact, the mid-August results were consistent across Australia with no significant differences reported by people in Victoria when compared to the rest of Australia.”

The survey was conducted in mid-August, at a time when daily new cases of coronavirus in Victoria led to strong restrictions in the State and extra caution across Australia.

“The survey asked Australians about feelings that impact on emotional and mental wellbeing,” Ms Marquardt said. “This included how often people felt nervous, hopeless, restless or fidgety, worthless, that everything was an effort, or so depressed that nothing could cheer them up.”

Over two in five Australians reported feeling nervous (46 per cent); restless or fidgety (41 per cent) and that everything was an effort (41 per cent) at least some of the time in the previous four weeks.

The survey also followed up on precautions being taken because of the spread of COVID-19 and participation in selected activities over the past week.

Ms Marquardt said: “These results did show marked differences between Victoria and the rest of the country.

“People in Victoria were more likely than the rest of Australia to, wear a facemask (99 per cent compared with 44 per cent), keep physical distance from people (97 per cent compared with 91 per cent), and avoid large social gatherings (96 per cent compared with 77 per cent).

“However, they were less likely to shop in physical retail stores (45 per cent compared with 81 per cent), attend their workplace in person (30 per cent compared to 66 per cent), send children to school or child care (18 per cent compared with 74 per cent), or dine in at restaurants or cafés (2 per cent compared with 50 per cent).”

The ABS would like to thank those Australian households that contributed to these survey results. The ABS plans to release additional information about the impacts of COVID-19 on these households over coming months.

Media notes

  • The first monthly Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey was conducted throughout Australia between the 7th and 17th August 2020.
  • Information on ABS products being produced to measure the impact of COVID-19 on Australia can be found on the ABS website.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team on 1300 175 070 (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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