Half of healthcare workers say the public is most to blame for recent rise in COVID-19 cases

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
February 04, 2021, 12:28 PM UTC

Eight in ten also say the public is taking the current lockdown less seriously

YouGov polling showed in January showed that Britons consider the public to be more to blame than the government for the recent rises in COVID-19 cases by 58% to 28%. Now the latest YouGov Healthcare Professionals survey reveals that healthcare workers feel the same way.

Overall, half of healthcare professionals (50%) say they hold the public most to blame for the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the last month, compared to 35% who think the government is most to blame. One in ten (10%) blame neither more than the other.

Healthcare workers with direct patient contact are noticeably more likely to blame the public over the government (52% to 33%) than non-patient facing workers, who are more divided at 44% to 40%.  

Among respondents who are NHS staff, 48% lay blame for the number of COVID-19 cases with the general public, and 37% instead blame the government. This is compared to 58% of professionals working in private healthcare who blame the public, with only 27% of private healthcare workers thinking the government is mostly responsible.

Female healthcare workers are also much more likely to lay blame with the public (53%) than their male colleagues who are split 42% to 43%.

While there is some disagreement among healthcare workers about who is most to blame for the number of COVID-19 cases, there is clear agreement that the public is not taking the latest lockdown as seriously as the first (83%), including 38% who think people are taking things “much less” seriously this time around.

Only around one in eleven healthcare professionals (9%) think people are taking the current lockdown as seriously as the first, and just 7% think the public are taking the current restrictions more seriously that they did in March 2020.

The vast majority of the general public (72%) agree, and think that people are not taking this lockdown as seriously as the one from March 2020, including 31% who think people are taking it “much less” seriously when asked the same question in January.

Learn more about YouGov Healthcare research here

See full results here