Quarantine is the first response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Restricting daily life can cause several problems. This study aimed to measure the impact of the COVID-19 quarantine on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) by comparing to the pre-pandemic.
HRQoL during COVID-19 quarantine was surveyed online using EQ-5D index and matched to that of the pre-pandemic-extracted from nationwide representative data of the Korea Community Health Survey- with propensity scores. A beta regression for the EQ-5D scores and a logistic analysis for individual dimensions of the EQ-5D index were performed to measure the impact of the COVID-19 quarantine on health utility.
The overall scores of the EQ-5D index were significantly higher in the group under quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic (0.971 SD 0.064) than those before the pandemic (0.964 SD 0.079, Diff. 0.007 SD 0.101, p = 0.043). The beta regression for the overall scores of EQ-5D revealed that quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic increased by 52.7% compared to normal life before the outbreak(p = 0.045). Specifically, “Depression/Anxiety” deteriorated significantly during quarantining (OR = 0.62, 95% CI:0.48–0.80). However, “Pain/Discomfort” and “Mobility” significantly improved (OR = 5.37, 95% CI:3.71–7.78 and OR = 2.05, 95% CI:1.11–3.80, respectively).
Although the world is facing a challenging moment that it has never been through before, mandatory quarantine has served as an experience that provided mental distress but physical comfort in the Korean context.