COVID-19 in the community

Covid-19 in the community; see a preview

Dr Jenny Douglas talks about the use of language to describe race across this website.

Covid can affect anyone, including children. Most people who were infected with Covid in 2020 and 2021 had mild to moderate symptoms and illness. However, some became critically ill and needed specialist medical care.

In the spring and summer of 2020, it became noticeable that some groups of people were more likely to be critically ill with Covid. Those who were elderly, disabled or living with long-term illnesses had a greater risk of serious illness or death if they were infected. Other people who were more likely to get ill were those who were regularly exposed to the virus and/or were less able to protect themselves because of their working and living situations.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought attention to existing social inequalities in the UK, such as differences in experiences because of race and occupation. People who were already disadvantaged in society were more likely to become seriously ill or die from Covid.

For the study published in this section, the focus was on talking to an ethnically diverse range of people about how being ill with Covid affected their daily lives, families and communities. They discussed how they found out about Covid, steps they took to avoid getting infected, their own illness and their wider experience including how the pandemic affected their lives, their family and household situations, social life, employment and living circumstances. We reviewed what everyone said and then wrote about each topic in 25 articles. Each of these includes clips chosen from the interviews so that you can hear directly from the people we talked to.

This resource is based on 70 interviews from across the UK, conducted in 2021 with people who had Covid sometime between spring 2020 and autumn 2021.

This section is one of four studies on Covid in the UK published on

Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by a virus known as SARS-CoV-2. Although Covid-19 is the official name of the viral infection, we use the ‘Covid’ throughout for purposes of readability.