6% Excess Deaths in Scotland #Covid Weekly Update

The deaths involving Covid published by the National Records of Scotland on 27th of October 2022 are as follows:

  • As of 23rd October 2022, there have been a total of 15,909 deaths registered in Scotland where the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was mentioned on the death certificate.
  • In week 42 there were 40 deaths involving COVID-19 (12 fewer than the previous week). 
  • The provisional total number of all deaths registered in Scotland in week 42 of 2022 (17th to 23rd October) was 1,194 (65 or 6% above the 5-year average).  

In more detail

Ages of those who died where Covid was on the death certificate:

  • Age 45 – 64: 1 death – Female
  • Age 65 – 74: 7 deaths, 4 Female, 3 Male
  • Age 75 – 84: 16 deaths, 10 Female, 6 Male
  • Age 85+ : 16 deaths, 4 Female, 12 Male

6 deaths occurred in Care Homes; 2 at Home/Non-Institutional setting; and 32 in Hospital.

There were 1,194 deaths due to all causes in the week 17th to 23rd of October 2022. This was an excess of 65 deaths (6%). Of the 40 deaths where Covid was mentioned on the death certificate – Covid was the underlying cause in 24 of those deaths.

In the UK there have been 205,908 deaths where Covid is mentioned on the death certificate as either the underlying cause or which has contributed to the death.

Globally, as of 5:52pm CEST, 26 October 2022, there have been 625,740,449 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6,563,667 deaths, reported to WHO. As of 26 October 2022, a total of 12,830,378,906 vaccine doses have been administered. WHO Covid dashboard

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  1. Some additional reading which could be helpful for anyone keen to try and interpret excess mortality figures in the wider context of mortality displacement.

    The explainer for mortality displacement (taken from the linked sources):
    ‘Mortality displacement is a phenomenon by which a period of high mortality can be followed by below-average mortality. Mortality displacement occurs when vulnerable people, such as older people and those who already had medical conditions, die sooner than expected. Therefore, these individuals are not dying in the following days, weeks, or months, where they would likely have died, potentially leading to a lower-than-average period of mortality.’

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessdeathsinenglandandwalesmarch2020tojune2022/2022-09-20

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessmortalityandmortalitydisplacementinenglandandwales/2020tomid2021

    For Scotland, there isn’t yet such information available. https://www.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/committees/current-and-previous-committees/session-6-covid19-recovery-committee/correspondence/2022/excess-deaths-in-scotland-since-the-start-of-the-pandemic

    The thing is… it is complex to disentangle the data. On top of Covid and its direct and immediate impacts we may in future also have to consider excess death fluctuations for which components could be (not exhaustively listed): mortality displacement influenced by Long Covid effects, NHS capacity, excessively long waiting lists, sub-standard living conditions (food and fuel poverty), public spending constraints and so forth. I would even argue that in times of severe austerity, mortality displacement may also occur outside the typically as vulnerable classed groups. Social factors could play an increasing role.