Britons predict fewer COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths this winter, but more cases

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
September 08, 2021, 8:54 AM UTC

More than two in five think Christmas will be free of pandemic restrictions, however

News has broken that the government could be planning an October lockdown – despite the promise that the lifting of pandemic restrictions in July was “irreversible”. 

According to reports, the October lockdown could be implemented if COVID-19 hospitalisations continue at their current rate and overwhelm the NHS - something the government has since denied. However, most people (57%) predict that October 2021 to January 2022 will see fewer hospitalisations than the same period a year ago – a period that encompassed the bulk of the UK’s second wave. Yet some 31% of people think that this year could be on par (16%) or worse (15%) than the previous period in terms of people admitted to hospital. 

Approaching two thirds of the public (63%) think there will be fewer deaths during this time than there were last winter, while 14% think the death rate will be the same. One in eight (12%) think the coming winter could bring a higher death toll.

While people mostly think hospital admissions and deaths will decrease, a third of Britons (36%) expect the number of COVID-19 cases to be higher between October 2021 and January 2022 than the same time last year – this includes one in eight (12%) who think cases will be “much higher”. Another 28% of people think case numbers will be about the same. Only a quarter of the public (26%) think that number of infections will be lower.

Britons tend to think Christmas will be free of lockdown restrictions

It has been suggested that the so-called “firebreak lockdown” could see the October half-term extended, but makes no mention of what might happen later in the year. Two fifths of Britons (44%), however, are expecting a Christmas period free of pandemic restrictions. On the other hand, a third (36%) think there will be some COVID-19 restrictions in place for the festive period once again.

Those aged 65 and above are the least likely to think Christmas will be business as usual without restrictions (36%), but another 40% think there will be some rules in place for the festive holiday. On the other hand, those aged between 18 and 24 are the most hopeful of a restriction-free Christmas (48%) with around a quarter (23%) thinking at least some form of rules will be in place.

See full results here