How long would you isolate after a positive COVID test?

Linley SandersData Journalist
February 04, 2022, 8:32 PM GMT+0

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, Americans are generally in disagreement about how long symptomatic individuals who test positive for the virus should quarantine.

In the latest Economist/YouGov poll, a hypothetical scenario was proposed: If you were to develop COVID-19 symptoms today and tested positive for the virus, how many days would you plan on isolating? YouGov members were able to pick their number of quarantine days from a list ranging from 1 to 21 or more, as well as the option of not isolating at all.

About one-quarter of Americans (23%) would quarantine for five days, the CDC’s latest recommended time frame for asymptomatic individuals, while 48% say they would quarantine for at least 10 days, including 22% who said they’d take exactly 10 days. Additional guidance from the CDC suggests that people with moderate or severe COVID-19 should isolate for 10 days — which is also the time frame recommended from earlier in the pandemic. One-quarter of adults (26%) say they would isolate for more than 10 days.

Republicans (34%) are more likely than Democrats (19%) to say they would isolate for exactly 5 days with a symptomatic case of COVID, while Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they would choose a quarantine period that exceeds 10 days (30% vs 13%).

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov Poll

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between January 29 - February 1, 2022. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2016 and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3% for the overall sample.

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

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