Scotland's excess deaths at highest level since January

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The number of people who died in Scotland last week was 30% higher than the pre-pandemic average, new figures have shown.

The National Records of Scotland said 1,353 deaths from all causes were registered in the week to 10 October.

This was 315 more than the average for the same week from 2015 to 2019, and the highest rate of "excess" deaths since the first week of January 2021.

These included deaths linked to cancer, heart disease and dementia.

This comes even as the number of deaths where Covid was mentioned in the registration fell for the second consecutive week, to 126.

The number of deaths linked to the pandemic had been rising since mid-August, but appears to have peaked in the week ending 27 September at 167 - far below previous peaks during the initial outbreak of the virus and at the start of 2021.

The figure fell to 143 the following week, and has now dropped by 17 to 126 - 100 of which were of people aged over 65, and 98 of which occurred in hospitals. Men accounted for 82 of the deaths, while 44 were women.

One further death was also registered which was linked to adverse affects from a Covid-19 vaccine.

That brings the total number of deaths where the vaccine was an underlying cause to five, against a population of 4.2 million in Scotland who have had at least one dose.

What were the causes of death?

The 315 excess deaths logged last week represents a 30% increase on the five-year pre-pandemic average for this time of year.

They include;

  • 44 cancer deaths,
  • 40 more deaths linked to circulatory conditions,
  • 27 dementia or Alzheimer's deaths,
  • and seven from respiratory conditions.

This marks the 20th consecutive week with excess deaths above the five-year average, and highest since the week ending 10 January, 2021.

In 2020, Scotland recorded the highest number of peacetime excess deaths since 1891, when the country was hit by an outbreak of the Russian flu.