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Excess deaths in Scotland now below five-year average

The number of excess deaths in Scotland has fallen below the five-year average for the first time since the initial week of lockdown, figures show.

Data from the National Records of Scotland reveals that from June 22-28, there were 20 less deaths (1,006) than the average over the last five years (1,026).

It is the first time since the week of March 23-29 that the total number of weekly deaths has fallen below the average.

The weekly statistics also reveal the overall death toll for Covid-19 in Scotland is now 4,155, with 35 more deaths recorded in the last week – down 14 on the previous week.

This is the ninth weekly reduction in a row, and the lowest weekly total since mid-March.

Despite the Covid-19 deaths, the total fatality figure is lower than the five-year average as there have been fewer deaths from other causes such as cancer.

Covid-19 deaths accounted for 3% of all fatalities registered this week, down from a peak of 36% during the week of April 20-26.

Over the last 15 weeks since the first Covid-19 death in Scotland, the number of excess deaths was 4,906.

Of these, 2,463 were in care homes, 67% above average, and 2,417 were at home or in non-institutional settings – 56% above average.

Deaths in hospitals were less than 1% above average levels (34) over the full period.

After an early peak during April, hospital deaths have now fallen to below average levels.

More than three-quarters (77%) of all deaths involving Covid-19 to date were of people aged 75 or over.

Pete Whitehouse, NRS director of statistical services, said: “Since the peak in mid-April, the number of registered Covid-19-related deaths has fallen for nine successive weeks.

“In the week ending June 28, 35 Covid-19-related deaths were registered, representing the second smallest weekly total since the start of the pandemic in Scotland.

“This week also marks the first time since the start of the pandemic in Scotland that the total number of deaths from all causes is below the five-year average for this time of year.

“Producing these statistics, alongside the other important evidence being made available by the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland (HPS), provides vital information to help understand the progression and impact of the virus in Scotland.”

The NRS figures are published weekly and account for all fatalities registered in Scotland when Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

They differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government using HPS figures because they include suspected or probable cases of Covid-19.

Announcing the latest HPS figures at the daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said one more person has died of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

This brings the total number of deaths under this measure to 2,486.

The First Minister said eight more people had tested positive for the virus in the last day, taking the total to 18,259.

A total of 785 patients are in Scottish hospitals with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a fall of 100 in 24 hours, she added.

Of these, 17 are in intensive care, a drop of two.

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