Exploring Scotland’s Covid Deaths

Exploring Scotland’s Covid deaths takes approx 8 mins to read, but possibly a little longer to absorb what it might mean for you and your loved ones.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Wayne Dyer

Scotland’s Covid deaths

Over the last few weeks I’ve been looking into Scotland’s Covid deaths and I thought you might be interested to see what I have found out.

It seems my inner number cruncher is alive and well. I qualified and worked as a Chartered Accountant years ago and it seems old habits die hard.

Weekly reports

Every week the National Office of Records in Scotland publishes a report called, Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland. Information in this blog comes from 2 of these reports ,Week 46 (9 to 15 November 2020) and Week 45 (2 to 8 November 2020).

The first paragraph of the Week 46 report opens “As at the 15th of November, there have been a total of 5,135 deaths registered in Scotland where the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was mentioned on the death certificate.”

Deaths WITH

This is crucial to remember, these are deaths WITH Covid on the death certificate. We have no idea how many have died FROM Covid.

Until last week the Coronavirus daily data for Scotland did mention that these deaths related to people who had died with a positive test in the last 28 days. That information has now been dropped.

Negative Test

This tragic case in Northern Irleand where a young man was incorrectly counted as a Covid death illustrates the madness of the 28 day positive test rule. At the time of his death he was Covid negative, and his father tells us, “we were told he had heart failure, that they couldn’t resuscitate him. However, at the very bottom of the article we learn that, “he was due to undergo surgery in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital and had been sent for a routine coronavirus test around a month ago, which was positive. ‘He showed no symptoms and later tested negative’, his father said”

Routinely testing people who are not symptomatic is problematic.


As we know a positive test is fairly meaningless unless you are symptomatic and medically examined. Are the people dying WITH Covid, symptomatic? Were they hospitalised because of symptomatic Covid or for some other reason? How do they distinguish Covid symptoms from other respiratory illnesses in these poorly people? Is it all done on the faulty test? We don’t know.

What we do know

There are things we do know. The information below is taken from the Weekly reports mentioned above.

Total Deaths by Age Group up to 15th November 2020.

Age Number of Deaths
Under 1 0
1-14 0
15-44 34
45-64 447
65-74 769
75-84 1,751
85+ 2,134
Total 5,135

So, to put that into words, the numbers of people who have died WITH Covid are:

  • 34 people under 45 yrs.
  • 481 people under 65 yrs.
  • 1,250 people under 75 yrs.
  • 1,751 people under 85 yrs.
  • 2,134 people over 85 yrs.

I was stunned to find out that so few people under the age of 45 have died, are you?

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

End of month reports contain more detailed information, so I used Week 45, to the end of Oct for this. It tells us that 92% of the deaths WITH COVID-19, between March and October 2020 had at least one pre-existing medical condition. At least one. So, very sadly most of the people dying WITH Covid were/are already unwell. 

We don’t know the distribution of pre-existing illness across the age groups but let’s assume it’s even and see what the numbers do.

Age Deaths Pre-existing No pre-existing
Under 1 0 0 0
1-14 0 0 0
15-44 34 31 3
45-64 447 411 36
65-74 769 707 62
75-84 1751 1610 141
85+ 2134 1963 171
Total 5135 4722 413

Let’s put this into words:

  • 3 people under 45 yrs have died who had no known pre-existing health conditions.
  • 39 under 65 yrs have died who had no known pre-existing health conditions.
  • 101 people under 75 yrs have died who had no known pre-existing health conditions.
  • In total 413 people have died WITH Covid who had no known pre-existing health conditions.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

What are these pre-existing conditions, I hear you cry. Listed below are the main ones as per the information up to Oct 2020. You can find more detailed information regarding these and the other conditions, divided by age group and sex at this link. (The spreadsheets containing data are at the bottom of the report and need to be downloaded to your own computer.)

Dates Main Pre-existing Conditions % of deaths
March – Oct 2020 None 8 %
Diabetes 4%
Cerebrovascular disease (includes stroke and vascular dementia) 6%
Chronic lower respiratory disease (includes – COPD, asthma, Cystic fibrosis) 11%
Ischaemic heart disease (coronary heart disease) 13%
Dementia and Alzheimers 30%

Scotland’s Population

Just to finish off let’s try and get these numbers in perspective by comparing them to the total number of people in Scotland. These numbers are from the Table 1: Estimated population by age and sex, Scotland, mid-2019 taken from the Data sheet of Mid-2019 Population Estimates Scotland published by the National Records of Scotland Office.

Age Population Died WITH Covid
Under 45 2,918,791 34
45-64 1,500,363 447
65-74 578,300 769
75-84 382,416 1751
85+ 83,429 2134
Total 5,438,100 5,135

In other words your chance of dying WITH Covid are as follows:

  • Under 45 yrs –  1 in 85,846.
  • 45 yrs to 64 yrs – 1 in 3,356.
  • 65 yrs to 74 yrs – 1 in 752.
  • 75yrs to 84 yrs –  1 in 218.
  • Over 85 yrs –  1 in 39.

Death from other causes

It would be fascinating to know what our chances of death from other causes are, for the various age groups. Without this it is hard to know what to compare these numbers to. If anyone has this information please let me know.


Someone let me know! Go to the list of Data Tables for 2019 in Scotland, Section 5 and download the excel spreadsheet. Table 6.02 has all the causes of death in 2019 by age group. Of course this opens up a whole new number crunching possibility, anyone?

Covid Deaths

There are many factors which increase the risk of dying WITH Covid. Age and pre-existing health conditions are obvious, however Week 45 tells us that ethnicity and deprivation also increase risk. For instance in Scotland you are 2.2 times more likely to die from Covid if you live in one of the most deprived areas.

Finally I have to mention Vitamin D. Are you taking it yet? If not check out my blog Understanding Vitamin D. Low levels of this humble supplement have been linked to increased risk of Covid.


So there you have it, Scotland’s Covid deaths explained! Hardly, but I do hope it will help you make a more informed decision about your or your loved ones risk of dying WITH Covid.

Has this information changed your view in anyway? Please let me know in the comments section below.

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”

 Aldous Huxley



You can explore more of my blogs about this Corona Time here.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here, in blog posts and on the website Change Is Always Possible are those of the author Mairi Stones alone, and do not represent the views of any associated bodies. We do not diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Information provided in this blog is not intended to substitute advice, treatment and/or diagnosis from qualified medical and nutritional professionals.

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Categories: Coronavirus time

About the Author: Mairi

Radical Self Care Coach, supporting you to create a calmer, simpler, more deeply connected life where you take better care of yourself and our planet.


  1. Paddy 7 January 2021 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    Excellent article Mairi, well done writing a very readable well explained article

    • Mairi 7 January 2021 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks Paddy. After talking to various people it became obvious that people had no idea what the reality was.

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