They're getting 'lockdown fatigue' and have stopped following all the guidelines.
Coronavirus cases are once again rising in the UK. The government has already moved to implement stricter restrictions than during the summer, and rumours are swirling that another national lockdown is coming (some local ones have already been put in place).
Also increasing rapidly, however, is so-called ‘lockdown fatigue’. Multiple polls and studies are showing that more and more people are bending or outright breaking the rules around things like social distancing. The number of Britons who think all the contacts of a Covid patient should be quarantined has fallen from three-quarters in March to two-thirds now. And, according to some studies, 80 to 90 percent of people who develop symptoms or are contacted by track and trace aren't isolating.
There are lots of reasons why lockdown fatigue could be happening. Staying away from loved ones and fun activities is tough. At the same time, the rules are easy to dodge: the UK has neither the ability nor the political appetite to send coppers into every living room to check for unauthorised mingling. The introduction of lots of different rules in different parts of the country without much warning or explanation has also led to people flouting the law out of frustration or sheer confusion.
Another factor seems to be that for some individuals the literal cost of things like quarantining is simply too high. Many workers who can’t do their jobs at home aren’t entitled to full - or any - pay if they isolate for the recommended two weeks. Some may even lose their job. While the government has introduced some financial support for the lowest earners, there has been criticism that it isn’t generous or wide-reaching enough. Some point to Austria, where quarantining employees who can’t work from home are entitled to all of their normal pay. The amount of people there who stay home when sick or exposed is reckoned to be about 98 percent.
Read our explainer on: government rules