Children in England will have lost 850million hours of in-person teaching by the time schools are due to reopen on March 8. Exams have been cancelled for two years running and university courses have moved almost exclusively online, with student dissatisfaction at a record low of 40 per cent.
Experts warn that NHS waiting lists could more than double from a record high of 4.52million at the end of December to ten million by April. GPs made six million fewer referrals for hospital treatment in 2020 than in 2019, as patients stayed away. The number of people waiting more than a year for treatment has rocketed by more than 7,000 per cent in a year.
The economy shrank by 9.9 per cent in 2020, marking the biggest decline in GDP since the Great Frost of 1709. At the same time, falling tax receipts and soaring spending on Covid-support schemes meant the Government borrowed a record £270.8billion in the first nine months of the financial year – £212.7billion more than the same period a year earlier. Borrowing for the full year is set to be close to £400billion and the national debt now stands at £2.1trillion, or 99.4 per cent of national income – the highest level since 1962.Price of lockdown: Why we could struggle to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic | Daily Mail Online