New figures show 60% of deaths involving COVID-19 are people over 75

Some 60% of deaths involving coronavirus in Scotland are people over the age of 75, new statistics suggest.

Figures from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show 354 people are suspected to have died from coronavirus since the outbreak began last month, up to Saturday April 5.

The new weekly publication by NRS records deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate of the patient, compared to daily figures released by Health Protection Scotland (HPS), which only count laboratory confirmations of coronavirus.

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At a briefing at the Scottish Government's headquarters in Edinburgh, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 366 people were found to have died in the HPS stats, as of 9am on Wednesday, up 70 from the previous day's total.

The Scottish Government announced last week they would also publish details from the NRS, which would look at deaths registered where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Of those whose deaths involved coronavirus, 60% were over the age of 75.

The NRS stats also found that most deaths in Scotland where coronavirus is listed on the death certificate were in the 75-84 age group with 133, followed by 91 in those over the age of 85 and 82 between the ages of 65 and 74.

Just four people have died in the 15-44 year old group and no deaths have been recorded in those under the age of 14.

The NRS figure of 354 covers a period from March 16 - when the first mention of coronavirus was made on a death certificate in Scotland - to April 5.

Since then, a further 146 deaths have been counted as part of the HPS daily statistics, meaning the actual death toll will be higher.

Ms Sturgeon said the discrepancy between HPS figure of 366 and the NRS figure of 354 was due to a "time lag", because the NRS figures cover only up to April 5.

Ms Sturgeon also said that Scots have the power to reduce the number of deaths by following lockdown measures currently in place.

Greater Glasgow and Clyde saw the highest number of deaths since the beginning of the period with 122 registered since March 16.

Orkney and the Western Isles have so far not seen any registered deaths.

The First Minister stressed that there were people behind the death statistics released by government agencies.

She said: "I focus on these statistics because they are really important to give us a sense of how the virus is spreading.

"But I am acutely aware that deaths are much more than statistics.

"Each and every one of these statistics represents an individual whose loss is a cause of deep grief, so I want again to express my condolences to everyone who has lost friends, family or loved ones."

Despite the changes, HPS will continue to publish daily figures on the number of deaths, tests and positive cases.

The current statistics provide weekly breakdowns over the last three weeks and will offer weekly figures on the number of deaths on a weekly basis.

Pete Whitehouse, the statistical director at NRS, said: "We are living in unprecedented times and all of these deaths are tragic.

"Using this methodology means that our statistics will differ from the number of deaths released daily by HPS which report on deaths with an associated positive test for Covid-19, and it is expected that NRS statistics will show a higher number of deaths.

"This is because NRS figures report on deaths involving confirmed and also suspected or probable cases of Covid-19."

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