Not enough Aussies are self-isolating to stop virus

According to Roy Morgan Research, 69% of Australians claim they are self-isolating due to the coronavirus:

Over two-thirds of Australians (69%) claim they are following Government directives to self-isolate as much as possible to fight the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. However, 31% say they were ‘not’ self-isolating according to a special Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey of an Australia-wide cross-section of 2,069 Australians aged 18+ conducted on Friday March 27 – Saturday March 28, 2020.

The survey conducted before Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Sunday evening (last night) talk to the nation creating a new two-person rule on gatherings is an important benchmark to see if more Australians self-isolate when Roy Morgan repeats the survey…

Self-isolation most likely for Women and older Australians

Analysis by Gender shows more women (73%) claim to be self-isolating than men (65%).

Analysis by Age shows older Australians aged 65+ (84%) are the most likely to claim to be self-isolating ahead of young Australians aged under 25 (70%). In contrast less than two-thirds of those aged 50-64 (66%), 25-34 (65%) and 35-49 (62%) claim to be self-isolating.

Older Australians are the only age group where a majority identify themselves as a ‘risk group’

Over two-thirds of Australians (69%) say they are not in a risk group and this majority is consistent across both Genders and younger age groups.

Analysis by Gender shows nearly three-quarters of men (73%) and two-thirds of women (64%) say they are not in a risk group.

Large majorities of those aged under 25 (90%), 35-49 (84%) and 25-34 (80%) say they are not in a risk group. This drops to under two-thirds of those aged 50-64 (65%).

However, older Australians aged over 65 are aware about COVID-19 and over three quarters (77%) say they are in a risk group.

Of those who claim they are self-isolating 63% say they are not in a risk group while of those who do not claim they are self-isolating a much higher majority of 82% say they are not in a risk group.

Three quarters of Australians have been with their family in the last 24 hours

Three-quarters of Australians (75%) say they have been with members of their family over the last 24 hours. This result is consistent both for Australians who claim they are self-isolating (76%) and those who claim they are not self-isolating (75%).

Over a fifth of Australians (22%) say they have been with business colleagues over the last 24 hours. A substantial 49% of Australians who claim they are not self-isolating have been with business colleagues over the last 24 hours compared to only 10% of those who claim they are self-isolating.

Just over one-in-ten Australians (11%) say they have been with friends over the last 24 hours including 18% of Australians who claim they are not self-isolating and only 8% who claim they are self-isolating.

In addition, about one-in-seven Australians (14%) have been with other people over the last 24 hours. This rises to 25% of Australians who claim they are not self-isolating compared to only 9% of Australians who claim they are self-isolating.

Overall 88% of Australians have been with somebody over the last 24 hours compared to 12% who haven’t been with anybody.

Almost all Australians will self-isolate on doctor’s orders

A super majority of 97% of Australians would self-isolate if their doctor advised them they were in a risk group and this viewpoint is consistent across both Genders and all age groups.

At least 95% of both Genders and all age groups agree that they would follow doctor’s orders to self-isolate if their doctor told them they were in a risk group.

This follows Modelling released last week from the University of Sydney, which showed that the coronavirus can only be controlled if 8 out of 10 Australians stay home:

The success or failure of Australia’s coronavirus fight relies to a remarkable degree on just one thing, new modelling has found.

And that thing is whether individual Australians now follow official advice — and just stay home.

The data comes from a complex model of how COVID-19 could spread in Australia, which finds:

Coronavirus will continue to spread virtually unchecked unless at least eight in 10 Australians stay home as much as possible.

If that slips even slightly — to seven in 10 people — the fight to ‘flatten the curve’ will be lost…

Thus, it would appear that not enough Australians are staying home and further restrictions are required.

Leith van Onselen


  1. This sounds like one of those polls where people “say” to the pollsters they are in favour of one thing because it is the “acceptable” response, but are actually doing the opposite.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      How did the millions that live week to week going to just stop work and self isolate without some kind ubi like payments coming from the government?

      Scotty boy has always just wanted to let it rip just like the rapture

  2. roylefamilyMEMBER

    I would be interested in why the extreme sensitivity from 80% to 70% in the outcome?

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Yep, epidemic dynamics are the classic example of non linear dynamics with their sensitive thresholds.

    • Because a certain number of new infections are required to maintain the level of active cases as people die/recover. If you are below that many cases then numbers will fall away. As you go above, you get numbers increasing, which gives more cases leading to more infections, leading to even more infections, leading to more cases etc. Welcome to exponentiality.
      What % that point is at depends on the parameters used in their model regarding numbers of interactions between people for a % isolation and likelihood of transmission.
      Given the approximations for these I expect the exact % will vary bt the effect above or below is substantially correct.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        That’s about as simple as one can make it but the morons are rampant everywhere, especially in western governmejnts.

    • there is a threshold in every system like this but given numbers of 70% and 80% are extremely unreliable

      The uncertainty is so high because we know so little about this virus

      what that info-graphics is not saying but it should be is that those numbers of 70% or 80% is actually 70% or 80% plus minus 20% or even 25%
      it may happen that 55% is enough but it may requite 95%

    • You should look at it the other way;

      90% compliance = 10% non-compliance
      80% compliance = 20% non-compliance
      70% compliance = 30% non-compliance

      Obviously, the number of active virus spreaders doubles from the 90% compliance rate to the 80% compliance rate and triples from the 90% compliance rate to the 70% compliance rate.

      Shall we push her luck and triple our non-compliance rate? Doubling was still okay after all….

  3. St JacquesMEMBER

    It was precisely this attitude that spectacularly undermined the early efforts in Italy, and they’ve only started having some success in braking this since the police got tough. For a total contrast see Japan.

    There’s are a lot of FWs out there.

  4. We all still need to go to the supermarkets fairly frequently to get supplies – it’s necessary (because we don’t have an emergency delivery system in place), but not really good for social distancing…

    • Yep and with Milk and other items being rationed if you normally use a lot of those items then you need to make more frequent trips.

  5. Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

    +1 Too many people couldn’t care less. This morning whilst watering plants I watched a lady in our neighbourhood take 7 kids for some sort of sports activity down the street. They aren’t all hers!

  6. BoomToBustMEMBER

    Maybe if ScoMo had shut our external borders rather than declaring “Australia is open for business” at the start of this pandemic we could have remained open internally rather than now we need to shut the country down. He would have administered a much harder initial pain but in a month or 2 this pain would be forgotten. Now we are going to be locked down for months thanks to the weakness and incompetence of our politicians who tried in vain to prop up housing and educational parties.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      Like the sheer luck that the fires didn’t kill a lot more people despite his late response? That wouldn’t be true to form.
      If we get through this ok it will be because of sheer luck, distance and things having been FORCED on this government,despite Moronson.

    • That’s exactly it. Shutting the borders would have preserved the domestic economy to the extent that international freight wasn’t too disruptive. AND would have preserved funds that now have to go to the health service. AND unsurprisingly would also have preserved lives.

      But, no, the “open for business!!!” fwits and their resource-spruiking mates (coal, property) have control. 🙁

    • We could have shut our international borders for as long as needed and told all non-AUs to F OFF on point of entry, put all returning AUs in forced quarantine and we would be only minorly inconvenienced compared to now.

  7. With 1 in 7 cases in NSW being from cruise ships maybe the populace is finding it a bit much getting lectured about appropriate behaviour by the people who through their own mismanagement have let in 14% of the cases.

  8. people who are happy to hard self-isolate should be cheering there are so many people out there willing to risk and get herd immunity for them (while safe in their homes or shelters).
    If this virus is as contagious as we are told, it would not take more than 3-4 weeks for 70 or 80% of people partying outside to get infected, die or gain immunity.

    So in 4 weeks we could be virus free and those the most scared and willing to self-isolate would not need to pay or suffer much (they already have enough pasta and toilet paper for months)

    with this extreme social distancing it will take a mass vaccination to free us out of isolation – so 12 to 18 months

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      Do you feel lucky? Let them at it! hahaha I’m ready to eat gruel if I have to.

    • There is NO proof this illness does not reoccur, and some evidence that it does.

      Best case, it can take a LOOOONG time to clear symptoms and tests can come back negative when the person still has it, due to fallability of the test. So it’s really, really hard to tell when it’s safe to let someone back out in the community.

      Plus, haven’t you read in the news that many young people who get it actually, you know, die? We shouldn’t be encouraging the general population to do that risk-taking.

      • PCR tests are inherently biased toward false positives
        there are no cases where someone got sick again from CV (e.g. got pneumonia), just few tested positive again

        what you cal large number of young who died while testing positive on coronavirus is extremely small number or previously sick people
        the number is super low relative to number of people that age who died during the same period of time

    • What’s this “we”. Definitely not medical staff, specialists right there in the ICU with inadequate protective clothing and gear, and likewise nursing staff admin and cleaning staff, how well off are they going to be as herd immunity is developed and they are dead? Spouses dead? And babies and children dead or orphaned?

      The reason to flatten the curve is to allow 3.8 icu beds per 1000 and medical staff to have a chance to cope, not die, not turn away masses of tsunami of very ill people in extreme pain, it causes extreme pain in many,
      I am looking at the chance of bringing up an 8 month old baby on death of his med. specialist mother and his father both in their 30s which is a high risk age in actuality.

    • You are up for being part of mass vaccinations? Gilead? iGlaxoSmithKlein? read about origin of so called Spanish flu? Realise this is a tricky virus, it’s somehow evolved so that a vaccination will finish off the recipient. Hence trialling plasma from recovered patients. Our bodies need a work around.

  9. SupernovaMEMBER

    Objective is to slow the spread of COVID19 to the 80% of Australians who may be infected mildly to moderately and will not require ICU assistance (some of these people are untested & completely asymptomatic). Importantly, the 80% of people with mild symptoms will have varying degrees of contagiousness and experts remain undecided and differ greatly on the contagability of asymptomatic infected people (infected people without a fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat, fatigue, aches & pains etc….). Until the contagability stats are collected, filling out social-whereabouts stats are pretty much useless.

    • The strict testing criteria in Queensland is still: Have you been O/S in the last 14 days and have a cough or cold like symptoms.

      We don’t know if there has been any community spread as they are not testing.

        • No I’m pretty sure a pollie told me this morning that there is no community spreading.

        • Arthur – This is what QH policy is and has not changed since the start. The only time this changes if your having to suck o2 through a plastic tube.
          QLD Perfect one day, diseased the next.


      For each confirmed infection, there’s usually 5 to 10 more in the community that have an undetected infection.
      And the ‘dose’ level matters significantly. Circling with infected persons can amplify the presence of this virus that reproduces at astonishing rates; leading to body’s immune system to be overwhelmed.

      Exposure does not prevent future exposures!

      A single ‘virus’ hit is plenty bad. Multiple ‘virus’ hits a much larger problem