This is a shocking survey on self-isolation and self-isolation intention in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.


First published in September 2020.


A survey that has been running since March has found that a shockingly low number of Brits actually self-isolate when experiencing COVID-like symptoms such as fever and coughing.

Only 18% followed through on staying home if they had been sick in the seven days before the survey. This is despite 70% of respondents claiming they would self-isolate if they were to develop symptoms.

The figures are averages of 15 survey waves carried out between early March and early August of this year. A closer look shows that self-isolation when experiencing symptoms has actually decreased from a high of 20-25% in May and June to only around 15-16% in late July and early August.

The most common reasons for leaving the house while experiencing COVID-like symptoms were grocery shopping or visiting the pharmacy, other medical needs besides COVID-19 and the idea that mild symptoms did not require isolation.

NHS poster in Sheffield. | Flickr – Tim Dennell

The makers of the survey, which hail from a variety of British universities and health institutions, also said that only around 60% of Brits correctly identified a cough and a fever as COVID-19 symptoms.

Only around 50% also knew that a loss of taste and smell was a symptom for COVID-19. Males and younger people were less likely to self-isolate, request a test or inform contacts of a possible exposure, according to the survey.πŸ”·

Number of Brits intending to self-isolate when experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms and number of Brits actually self-isolating, as well as reasons to break isolation. | Statista





[This piece was first published in Statista & written by Katharina Buchholz, Data Journalist at Statista.]

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(Cover: Flickr/Tim Dennell. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)

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