Report summary

Wellcome Monitor 2020: Covid-19 Study

This report presents the results of the fifth Wellcome Monitor. It looks at findings around the British public’s experience of the Covid-19 pandemic and their views on health information during lockdown.

Key findings 

  • BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) people were more likely than White people to be very concerned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their personal finances (43% vs 23%), physical health (30% vs 18%) and mental health (34% vs 16%).
    • BAME people were also more likely to find the restrictions put in place by the government difficult to follow (50% vs 38%), as were people who were finding things difficult financially.
    • BAME people were less likely than White people to say that information about staying safe was very clear (52% vs 71%). This lack of clarity was particularly high among Black people (45%).
  • Health scientists and researchers were largely trusted on information about coronavirus (72% of participants trusted them completely or a great deal). They were followed by government science advisors (63%), the UK government (52%) and employers (45%).
    • BAME people were less trusting than White people of coronavirus information from health sector and government sources.
    • People who trusted scientists were more likely to see prevention measures as effective; but trust in scientists did not have an effect on uptake of such measures.
  • Younger people (18-29) and women were more concerned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their mental health, while older people (60+) were more concerned about the impact on their physical health.


"Covid-19 has exposed the deep inequalities in our society, but it has also highlighted the diverse ways people are affected by the pandemic and by lockdown policies. As Europe teeters on the brink of a second wave and we see more local lockdowns, these findings show that a more targeted approach to messaging will be key to ensuring that different groups can access, understand and trust government guidance. We hope that local authorities and policy makers can use these findings to inform their public health strategies as we enter this critical period, and that employers can best create safe working environments."
Carla Ross, Research and Evidence Lead at Wellcome


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Related reports 

Report18 November 2019 

This report presents the results from the fourth wave of the Wellcome Monitor, a study about public knowledge of and attitudes towards science and health research.