A quarter of Brits expect the COVID-19 outbreak to last until next year

Matthew SmithLead data journalist
March 20, 2020, 12:04 PM UTC

But more than a third think it will be gone by summer

With lockdowns in place in many countries like China, France and Italy in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, it seems to be only a matter of time before such measures are taken in the UK as well.

With the prospect of being cooped up inside for an extended period of time looming, Britons will be anxious to know how long they will end up being isolated for.

On Thursday last week Professor Chris Witty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, said that he expected the peak to be 10-14 weeks away. This would put the peak somewhere from late May to mid-June.

Of course, the peak is not the end of the crisis, simply the point after which it starts to recede. According to The Guardian, a report by Public Health England says the epidemic will last until spring next year.

But what are the public expecting? We asked Britons to tell us, as far as they were aware, how long they thought the coronavirus outbreak is set to last.

The results find a nation unsure. One in ten of us think it will go on until either April (2%) or May (8%).

Just over a quarter (27%) think it will go on until summer, while another 13% expect it to continue until autumn (13%). Another 5% expect it to last until winter, but a quarter of the population believe it will last until spring 2021 (17%) or later still (8%).

A further one in five of us (20%) aren’t sure at all.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here