Resesarch gauges decreases in the quality of life in COVID-19.

Besides the unprecedented economic, social and health system disruptions, the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in a loss of an estimated 20.5 million life years. The pandemic has also impacted the physical and mental health as well as their quality of life.

The results of the survey were published on the medRxiv* preprint server, the purpose of which was to assess the overall health of the people who are subject to Covid-19 restrictions – through 952 survey respondents from France, India, Italy, the UK and the US.

Participants were asked to respond to a series of questions on time-trading. These included questions about living with limitations on light, such as masks, restricted access to restaurants, restricted international travel and severe restrictions like home office or home-schooling, as well as restrictions on private gatherings. Respondents were also asked to describe the benefits of living with paraplegia as a common reference point.

Mean utility weights for severe restrictions, light restrictions and paraplegia. Light restrictions include wearing masks in public areas, limited access to restaurants and bars and restaurants, limited international travel. Severe restrictions: wearing masks in public areas, restricted access to restaurants and bars restricted travel abroad. Mandatory home office, remote education, and inability to hold private meetings.

The results showed that the average estimated utility was 0.71% for restricted light, 0.65 for severe restrictions and 0.49 percent for paraplegia. Quality-adjusted life years (QALY) utility weights were relatively similar across countries. Meanwhile, the lowest average utility weights were recorded in France and the highest average weights were found in India.

Globally, there has been the loss of 2,980,000,000 QQALYs due to restrictions put in place by the government. The restrictions came into effect starting on September 6 to September 6, 2021. Due to the huge population and the longer duration of restrictions, the greatest absolute burden was found in countries with higher and lower incomes.

The ratio of QALYs lost because of Covid-19 Restrictions to YLL

Additionally, a discrete choice experiment (DCE) was conducted to determine the respondents willingness to pay (WTP) to circumvent specific restrictions. Random utility models were utilized to calculate (implicitly) the values for each restriction.

The results showed that the subjects were willing and able to pay 22 percent of their annual salary to avoid closing schools and daycares and 21.8% to avoid closing bars, restaurants or clubs. The lowest WTP was observed for removing travel restrictions (7 percent) and wearing masks in public (2 percent).


Despite the progress made in the COVID-19 vaccination drive Non-pharmaceutical interventions are still an essential and primary management strategy in many low-income countries to limit the spread of the virus.

The results of this study revealed that the burden on society of non-pharmaceutical treatments accounts for more than 3 billion QALYs as of September 6, 2021–which corresponds to 38 times the estimated number of life-years lost due to the pandemic to date.

The social cost of any restrictive measures taken by governments can be greater than what is reported. Many people would prefer to sacrifice a substantial portion of their income to avoid several of these restrictive measures in the near future.

Some measures were considered to be minor burdens, like – wearing masks in public spaces or restrictions on international travel by the majority of participants, but they effectively reduced disease transmission. Other measures, such as closing bars, schools restaurants, and other venues, were considered to be significant.

Questions were framed in a variety of ways, such as utility of these restrictions with COVID-19 as well as outside of COVID. Surprisingly enough, the same responses are found in both types of framing, probably because often respondents justified the measures as necessary and assigned lower value. This was likely as they would not have expected these restrictions without COVID.

Another issue was that respondents may not be able to accurately assessing the value of living with restrictions. Nevertheless, the magnitudes that were reported here — about one quarter of quality of life lost due to light restrictions and about a third due to severe restrictions–were deemed acceptable. Both severe and mild restrictions were preferred over paraplegia. The average utility weight of 0.49 for paraplegia appeared to be well-aligned with estimates found in the literature.

This research was an original attempt to measure the social impact of COVID-19 limitations at both national and global levels. These findings highlight the high cost to society from non-pharmaceutical strategies used to prevent the spread infectious diseases such as COVID-19. They also highlight the loss of quality of life.

*Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

Journal reference:

Content Source:

Gemma Wilson

Gemma is a journalism graduate with keen interest in covering business news – specifically startups. She has as a keen eye for technologies and has predicted quite a few successful startups over the last couple of years.

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