Are young people ignoring social distancing guidelines?

30 July 2020, 16:03 | Updated: 30 July 2020, 16:06

By Fiona Jones

Are young people ignoring social distancing guidelines? This epidemiologist clarifies the truth.

20-somethings "treating coronavirus tests like the morning after pill following nights out," according to a public health official in Manchester.

But are young people really ignoring the coronavirus guidelines? It seems: yes and no.

Epidemiologist Dr Daisy Fancourt has been tracking pandemic behaviour since the beginning of lockdown and confirmed under 30s are less likely to follow social distancing rules.

70-80% of young people are still adhering to many of the rules, however for "full compliance" of all social distancing rules it is much lower at between 20-30%.

"It's more of a bending rather than breaking of the rules amongst young people [18-30 year olds]," Dr Daisy said.

Shelagh commented that if young people "are pretty sure it won't do them any serious harm" they are "almost bound" to be more relaxed about it.

While the epidemiologist agreed, she told Shelagh that part of it comes down to understanding the rules now lockdown has been eased; only 45% of adults reported they generally understand the guidelines, with only 42% having reported they fully understand the guidelines.

"It's possible we're seeing a relationship between particularly younger adults understanding what they can do and therefore not complying," Dr Daisy explained, adding that some may be key workers therefore unable to comply.