Tracking wellbeing outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic (October 2021): Putting the worst behind us?
This paper explores the views, outcomes, and attitudes of Australians at a time when the south-east of the country was starting to emerge from lockdown, and vaccination rates were approaching thresholds allowing for a greater easing of restrictions. The analysis is based on the October 2021 wave of the ANUpoll series of surveys, which forms part of the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods’ COVID-19 Impact Monitoring survey program. Respondents are from the Life in AustraliaTM panel, Australia’s only probability-based source of online and offline survey participants. We find that slightly more than half of adult Australians thought that ‘the worst of the pandemic is behind us’, with the remaining 45.4 per cent still thinking that ‘the worst is still to come.’ Our findings also suggest that while there had been some improvement in key outcomes between August and October 2021 – life satisfaction, hours worked, and income all had increased – other outcomes appeared to have worsened due to the lingering impact of the relatively large third-wave of infections and associated lockdown measures. While it may be the case that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, it is clear that ongoing impacts will be felt by the population.