Most Britons sense things have taken a turn for the worse on coronavirus

Matthew SmithLead data journalist
September 09, 2020, 8:31 PM UTC

YouGov’s COVID-19 trackers find a big rise in the number of people saying the pandemic situation is deteriorating

With coronavirus case numbers starting to increase once again, it looks like Briton may be about to experience a ‘second wave’ of the pandemic.

YouGov’s coronavirus trackers show that the public has been picking up on the signs. The majority of Brits (54%) now say they think that the coronavirus situation in the UK is getting worse, up more than twenty points on two weeks ago (31%).

Just a quarter (27%) still think the situation is improving, or entirely over.

Please note survey fieldwork was conducted on 7-8 September, prior to the Government’s announcement that social gatherings of more than 6 people would be banned in England.

The proportion of Britons who approve of the way the Government has been handling the crisis has fallen to its lowest level yet, at 37%. A majority (55%) say they have been managing the pandemic badly.

Despite this negativity, the proportion of people who say they are afraid of catching coronavirus remains much the same as it has since May, at 47%. YouGov’s mood tracker has also yet to detect a shift in the public’s emotions.

More faces are covered, but fewer hands are clean

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam saying that the recent increase in cases shows that the UK has relaxed too much, and the results of our trackers show that anti-coronavirus behaviours have indeed slackened.

While most Brits (56%) say they practice improved personal hygiene, this is down from a peak of 77% in early April. Similarly, the 43% of people taking care about what public objects they touch is down from a peak of 59% in mid-April.

The proportion of Brits wearing face masks remain high – having stabilised at about seven in ten – but this was only spurred by their use being made a legal requirement in shops in England.

See the most recent results here, and previous results on the coronavirus tracker pages