SAGE paper says young people told to isolate due to coronavirus should get free gaming

Compliance among 18-25s “substantially lower and declining”.

Young people told to isolate due to coronavirus should be offered free gaming, a new SAGE paper has said.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) paper warns compliance with Covid-19 restrictions is “substantially lower and declining” among people aged 18 to 29 compared to older age groups due to a “lack of trust in government”.

To combat this, the paper recommends young people who are asked to isolate or stay at home should be given “good financial and other support, e.g. free mobile phone data, streaming and gaming”.

Young people are more oriented towards immediate experiences and rewards than long term consequences, the paper says. Interventions should provide short-term rewards for adherence, and an example of this is streaming and gaming services provided free to those asked to isolate.

This is one of six recommendations in a paper called “increasing adherence to Covid-19 preventative behaviours among young people”, by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B). This was considered by SAGE on 22nd October, nine days before prime minister Boris Johnson announced the four-week lockdown for England, but was only published for the first time on Friday.

The paper does not go into detail on what this free gaming would involve, or how it would be distributed to young people.

According to SAGE’s latest data, the R number range for the UK is 1.1-1.3. An R number between 1.1 and 1.3 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 11 and 13 other people. The latest growth rate range for the UK is +2 per cent to +4 per cent per day.