Compliance

Is this the True Level of Opposition to Restrictions? Over Half of 18-34 Year Olds Have Deleted the NHS Covid App or Never Had It

Opinion polls are sometimes poor at distinguishing between virtue-signalling and what people really think – respondents tell the pollsters what they think they are supposed to say, especially on issues that have become moralised, like anti-Covid measures.

But actions speak louder than words. So the news that 19% of people have deleted the NHS Covid app (which pings you to tell you to self-isolate if you are identified as someone who’s come into contact with a person who’s tested positive) and so joined the 32% of people who never had it, according to a new ComRes poll, perhaps gives a better indication of how many people are not so keen on Covid restrictions. Among 18-34 year olds, over a third – 34% – have deleted the app, which is as many as still have it, while 21% never downloaded it in the first place – despite 98% owning a smartphone.

To my mind, statistics like these are a much more realistic indicator of who actually supports restrictions, since if you’re not willing to self-isolate when potentially infected, how can you be in favour of less targeted measures? This would mean just 42% of people are genuinely in favour of restrictions continuing.

True, you have to allow for the 16% of adults who don’t have a smartphone. If we assume this group splits in their views in the same proportions as those who do have a smartphone then we get 44.5% against restrictions in practice versus 50.5% in favour. This is probably an upper bound for those in favour, as some may just be saying they have the app even though they don’t, and some may have downloaded it just for appearance’s sake. Furthermore, some may not be supportive of measures beyond isolation of contacts (though I assume that anyone who favours more restrictive measures must favour self-isolation of contacts as it seems the bare minimum of restrictions beyond isolation of the infected).

Among 18-34 year-olds, those opposed to restrictions (by this measure) outnumber those in favour by 55% to 34%.

Such figures sound much more likely to me than the alarming support for draconian restrictions that often appears in opinion polls. They suggest that if politicians think the public are solidly behind the continuation of restrictions then they are in for a nasty shock come polling day. Politicians should pay closer attention to what people do than what they say.

Compliance with Covid Restrictions Falls as Vaccine Rollout Progresses, According to New Survey

Compliance with Covid restrictions has fallen to levels not seen since last autumn, with a particular drop among those who’ve recently been vaccinated, according to the results of a new Ipsos MORI survey. Six in 10 people aged 55-75 say they are not completely following the rules. Covid vaccine uptake in this age range recently hit 95% and 12 million people (also mostly within this bracket) have had two doses. The Ipsos MORI survey found that while compliance has fallen the most in recent months among those aged 55-75, this age group is still more likely than others to claim to be following the rules relating to Covid. Here are the key findings.

A new survey by Ipsos MORI shows the number of Britons who say they are following the Government’s Covid lockdown rules completely has fallen from almost half (47%) in January 2021 to just over a third (35%) now. A further 36% are following the restrictions nearly all of the time (up from 31%) while 21% are following most/half of the time (was 16%) and 6% less than half/hardly at all (little change from 4%).

Claimed adherence to the rules reached a peak in January but has now dropped back to the levels seen last autumn. 

Among those aged 55-75, the number of people following the rules completely has fallen from 58% in January to four in 10 now (40%), perhaps related to the success of the vaccine programme among older people. However, overall this this age group is still more likely than younger Britons to say they are following the rules. 

The Government feared that Brits would take Covid restrictions less seriously after being vaccinated and has sought ways to keep people frightened of the virus. At the beginning of April, a Government source told the Telegraph that a poster campaign was being drawn up telling grandparents (including those who’ve been vaccinated): “[If you] hug your grandchildren there is a chance you are going to infect people you love.” These findings from Ipsos MORI suggest that people are more likely to believe that the benefits of resuming normal life outweigh the risks after they’ve been vaccinated.

The survey also looked at what people will be comfortable doing when lockdown restrictions are further eased.

Once restrictions have been lifted, Britons are most comfortable meeting friends and family outside of their household (77%), with another 5% who say this is already back to normal. Overall this is an increase of eight points since February. Seven in ten (71%) would feel comfortable visiting their GP for non-Covid related issues. Two-thirds (66%) feel comfortable shopping in both supermarkets and other shops. 

Six in ten (58%) workers say they will feel comfortable returning to work once restrictions are lifted, 16% say this had already returned to normal. Parents are also more likely to say they will feel comfortable sending their children to school (66%, up from 55% in February), 8% believe this is already as it was before the pandemic hit. 

A majority of Britons say they will be comfortable going to the hairdressers (59%), taking holidays in the UK (61%), having people working in your home (55%) and staying overnight at a friend or family member’s house (54%). Around half would be happy visiting an indoor museum or exhibition (51%) and going to bars and restaurants (50%).

Worth reading in full.

Why Lockdowns Don’t Work: Less Than Half of People With Symptoms Self-Isolate, Major Survey Shows

On Lockdown Sceptics we have highlighted before the reasons that restrictions don’t have the expected effect of suppressing COVID-19. Partly it’s because lockdowns don’t prevent spread in hospitals, care homes and private homes, where much of the transmission happens, especially that which leads to serious disease. And partly it’s because people who are infectious and symptomatic fail to self-isolate, perhaps because they cannot, or cannot afford to, or because they think it’s just a cold.

It’s not because asymptomatic infection is a major driver of transmission. Despite this claim being much repeated, including by public health authorities, the evidence is that (as with other similar viruses) asymptomatic infection is barely infectious and contributes very little to the spread of the coronavirus.

We now have some clear data on how many people who develop COVID-19 symptoms actually follow through with self-isolation. A large nationally representative survey of 53,880 people published this week in the BMJ finds that less than a fifth (18%) of people who have COVID-19 symptoms take a test and less than half (43%) of those with symptoms (and who don’t test negative) fully self-isolate for 10 days without leaving home. Even at the height of the January surge, when hospitals were being stretched, only 52% of people with symptoms (and no negative test) fully self-isolated.

The survey asked the reasons for breaking the quarantine.

The most frequently reported reasons for not fully self-isolating were to go to the shops for groceries or to a pharmacy (21.5%), to go to work (15.8%), to go to the shops for things other than groceries or pharmacy goods (15.6%), because symptoms did not persist or were temporary (15.2%), to go out for a medical need other than COVID-19 (15.0%), to go for a walk or for some other exercise (14.8%), believing symptoms were only mild (14.5%), because symptoms got better (13.9%), thinking it was not necessary to stay at home (13.2%), being too bored (12.2%), to help or provide care for a vulnerable person (11.9%), to meet up with friends or family, or both (11.3%), and being too depressed or anxious (11.2%).

It also asked about reasons for not requesting a test.

The most common reasons for not requesting a test were thinking the symptoms were not due to COVID-19 (20.9%), symptoms had improved (16.9%), symptoms were only mild (16.3%), having no contact with anyone who had COVID-19 recently (13.0%), thinking that only self-isolation was needed (11.5%), not wanting to use a test that someone needed more (11.1%), not thinking you were eligible to get a test (11.0%), and being worried about how colleagues or employers would react if a test result was positive (10.0%).

This confirms there is no reason to believe in the evidence-free concept of widespread asymptomatic transmission to explain why lockdowns don’t work. With more than half of people who have symptoms not fully self-isolating, that’s plenty of opportunity for symptomatic transmission.

In terms of evidence that lockdowns don’t work, we now have a new study to add to our ever-growing list.