Isolated and unable to work

April 19, 2020 • Reading time 1 minute

All of our analysis on the impact of Covid-19 on the NHS is shared here – this includes our regional tracker. For further information please contact George on 07980804956 or [email protected]


Published 20 April 2020

What is the impact of coronavirus on the ability to work and the economy?

We surveyed over 1,500 people over the Easter Weekend. Just over 21% of respondents have been in a household where someone has had Covid-19 symptoms, such as fever, since the start of March. Most people were compliant with the self-isolation guidance and isolated for 14 days.

Of time spent in isolation, a significant 72% of people were unable to work for the total time or part of it – see chart.  This may be due to illness or inability to work remotely at short and unplanned notice.

From this we calculate that those people who had symptoms (or someone in their household) spent an average of 9.5 days off work. Extrapolating to the population would mean 2.4 million unable to work and the loss of 23 million days of work for the UK (likely to be an over-estimate). This is about the same as a Bank Holiday – at least based on what our respondents reported.

This means if people can and do follow the guidance, the isolation measures can work with a relatively limited impact on the economy. The problem is the lockdown worked much more effectively at stopping the spread. Finding an alternative is tricky.


Edge Health are a specialist UK healthcare analytics consultancy that use data and insights to improve the delivery of health and care services, so that better outcomes can be delivered more efficiently.