COVID-19 Wider Impacts - Excess Deaths

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. Clinical presentation may range from mild-to-moderate illness to pneumonia or severe acute respiratory infection.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wider impacts on individuals’ health, and their use of healthcare services, than those that occur as the direct result of infection. Reasons for this may include:

• Individuals being reluctant to use health services because they do not want to burden the NHS or are anxious about the risk of infection.

• The health service delaying preventative and non-urgent care such as some screening services and planned surgery.

• Other indirect effects of interventions to control COVID-19, such as mental or physical consequences of distancing measures.

This dataset provides information on trend data regarding the wider impact of the pandemic on the number of deaths in Scotland, derived from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) weekly deaths registration data. Data show recent trends in deaths (2020), whether COVID or non-COVID related, and historic trends for comparison (five-year average, 2015-2019). The recent trend data are shown by age group and sex, and the national data are also shown by broad area deprivation category (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, SIMD).

This data is also available on the COVID-19 Wider Impact Dashboard. Additional data sources relating to this topic area are provided in the Links section of the Metadata below. Information on COVID-19, including stay at home advice for people who are self-isolating and their households, can be found on NHS Inform.

All publications and supporting material to this topic area can be found in the weekly COVID-19 Statistical Report. The date of the next release can be found on our list of forthcoming publications.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Source NRS Deaths
Author National Records of Scotland
Maintainer Public Health Scotland
Last Updated October 5, 2023, 09:50 (BST)
Created June 10, 2020, 10:24 (BST)
Contact Address Public Health Scotland, Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9EB
Subject COVID-19 Impact, Mortality
Frequency Monthly
Time frame of data and timeliness Information is provided on different topics as quickly as possible, given the different time lags that apply to different national data sources. For example, Public Health Scotland receives information on patients attending Accident & Emergency within days; but there can be a delay of at least six weeks before we receive detailed information on patients discharged from hospital after having a baby.
Coverage Numbers of deaths represent the total number of deaths (from any cause) that were registered in Scotland in any particular week. Deaths related to COVID-19 are included in totals. Figures include non-residents. Deaths are allocated to area based on the usual residence of the deceased. If the deceased was not a Scottish resident, the death is allocated to the area where the death occurred.
Completeness All deaths ocurring in Scotland must be registered. Of course, it is not possible to guarantee that every death which occurs in Scotland will be registered, because there will be some events which are not known of by any authority. For example, if there were a murder, with the body disposed of and no other evidence of what had happened, then a death would have occurred but would not be registered. For more information, please see Background Information on the NRS website, and Quality of Data Obtained from Registrations (See Links).
Accuracy Please see Background Information on the NRS website and Quality of Data Obtained from Registrations (See Links)
Continuity of data Data are comparable for the whole period included.
Concepts and definitions Deaths related to COVID-19 are included in totals. The figures are based on the date a death was registered rather than the date the death occurred. When someone dies, their family (or a representative) have to make an appointment with a registrar to register the death. Legally this must be done within 8 days, although in practice there is, on average, a 3 day gap between a death occurring and being registered. More information on days between occurrence and registration, and other key concepts, can be be found on the NRS website (See Links).
Disclosure Disclosure control methods have been applied to the data in order to protect patient confidentiality.
Revision statement Figures contained within each publication may be subject to change in future releases as submissions may be updated to reflect a more accurate and complete set of data.
Official statistics designation Management Information Statistics
Relevance and key uses of the statistics The data are used to describe the current impact and the severity of COVID-19 in Scotland. Such information allows comparison with prior influenza seasons and with current activity across the UK, Europe and globally. Numbers of deaths represent the total number of deaths (from any cause) that were registered in Scotland in any particular week. Comparing the number of deaths in the most recent weeks to the average over the past 5 years allows estimation of the numbers of excess deaths.
Format csv
Language English

PHS Weekly COVID-19 Report

COVID-19 Deaths - NRS

NRS website

NRS - Background Information - Quality

NRS - Quality of Data from Registrations

COVID-19 Wider Impact Dashboard

Public Health England COVID-19 surveillance report

Scottish Government – COVID-19 Deaths Open Data

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