Young Britons Start to Ditch Masks After Deleting Covid App: Poll

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Clubbers queue around the block at a few minutes to midnight waiting for Covid-19 restrictions to be dropped and for Pryzm nightclub to open its doors once more on July 18, 2021 in Brighton, England. At a minute past midnight, England dropped most of its …
Chris Eades/Getty Images

Fewer than half of young people in the UK are wearing masks since ‘Freedom Day’, with the demographic having the sharpest decline in mask use out of all age groups.

A YouGov poll published on Monday that while 58 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds were wearing masks in public places in the two weeks before the government mandate on wearing them on public transport and indoor public places ended, 46 per cent are still wearing them in those settings.

It is the lowest uptake of masks amongst all polled age groups, with the majority of 25- to 49-year-olds (66 per cent), 50- to 64-year-olds (73 per cent), and over 65s (85 per cent) still wearing them in public places.

The poll comes after another survey from the same research company found last week that 52 per cent of young people who had downloaded the NHS’s COVID-19 app had either deleted it or were misusing it, such as switching off the Bluetooth or not using it to check in to venues.

The app notifies users if they have been in proximity without someone who has tested positive for the Chinese coronavirus and advises they isolate, giving rise in recent weeks to a ‘pingdemic’ where some 600,000 Britons were notified by the NHS app that they should quarantine.

While self-isolating after being pinged by the NHS app is not a legal requirement — unlike being contacted by the NHS’s Test and Trace offices — the majority of Britons, 59 per cent, still think it is.

There is also an apparent stigma to deleting the app and avoiding quarantine, with 40 per cent Britons saying in a YouGov poll published on Monday that they would have a worse opinion of someone if they deleted the app while more than half (58 per cent) would think less of someone if they were pinged by the app and did not self-isolate.

Monday’s polls also revealed that just one-quarter (26 per cent) of young people are still avoiding crowded public places, compared to the majority of over 65s (69 per cent) and those aged 50 to 64 (52 per cent) and 42 per cent of 25- to 49-year-olds.

The younger generation is also less likely to be fully vaccinated (21 per cent), according to YouGov’s tracker.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly been “raging” about young people’s low uptake of the vaccine, according to The Times, and appears to be waging a war on them, threatening to curtail freedoms associated with youth to force them to be vaccinated.

Reports this week claim Johnson is backing plans to force university students to be vaccinated if they want to attend lectures or live in campus accommodation.

Johnson has already pledged that from late September, entry to nightclubs will only be permitted for those fully vaccinated.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.