Scientists Report Abysmal Compliance with Isolation Guidance for Covid-19


A group of scientists including SAGE member Prof Susan Michie have analysed responses taken on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care in a series of 21 surveys, each of abour 2,000 people, from 5 March to 2 August. We can expect that of the order of 100 people in each survey would have had Covid-19. The report has not yet been peer-reviewed for publication. The results make depressing reading as to the overall effectiveness of our national system for suppressing Covid-19 infection.
Evidently until compliance is much improved it will be necessary to have gross "lockdown" measures.
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Only 48.9% of participants (95% confidence interval 48.2% to 49.7%) identified key symptoms of COVID-19.

Self-reported adherence to test, trace and isolate behaviours was low:

  1. self-isolation was report by 18.2%, (95% confidence interval 16.4% to 19.9%)
  2. requesting an antigen (swab) test was reported by 11.9% (95% confidence interval 10.1% to 13.8%)
  3. intention to share details of close contacts was reported by 76.1% (95% confidence interval 75.4% to 76.8%)
  4. quarantining was reported by 10.9% ( 95% confidence interval 7.8% to 13.9%)

These figures were largely stable over time.

By contrast, intention to adhere to protective measures was much higher. Non-adherence was associate with: men, younger age groups, having a dependent child in the household, lower socio-economic grade, greater hardship during the pandemic, and working in a key sector.

The authors concluded that practical support and financial reimbursement was likely to improve adherence and that targeting messaging and policies to men, younger age groups, and key workers might also be necessary.

Since the surveys were taken a £500 payment for self-isolation has been introduced for those on the lowest incomes.

The original paper is here .