Second wave care home deaths approaching half the total in first wave

Deaths in care homes in Scotland are beginning to increase as the elongated second wave of Covid-19 begins to take its toll on the care sector.

Care home deaths of are at around 40 per cent of the total of the first wave.
Care home deaths of are at around 40 per cent of the total of the first wave.

New figures published today by the National Records of Scotland show the number of care home deaths in Scotland is above 100 for a single week for the first time since the first wave of the pandemic.

A total of 113 deaths were registered with Covid-19 on the death certificate, the highest number since May 18.

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The figure is also a warning sign for further care home deaths due to increased cases of Covid-19.

Deaths are a ‘lag indicator’, meaning they show up several weeks after the initial infection and deaths registered now are likely to be linked to infections around the Christmas period.

In total, the number of care home deaths in the second wave – calculated from September 28 to date – sit at around 40 per cent of the total deaths from the first wave – calculated as March 16 to June 29.

Using those time-frames, 1,918 deaths in care homes were recorded during the first wave with 794 so far during the second wave.

The number of deaths are expected to increase over the coming weeks following the steep rise in cases over the Christmas period.

Data on Covid-19 deaths in care homes should be read while understanding a lack of testing in the early stages of the pandemic when compared to now, and the inclusion of ‘suspected Covid-19’ on death certificates.

The lower number of Covid-19 deaths in the second wave is also partially explained by a lower prevalence overall of the virus in September, October and November when compared to March and April.

However the statistics paint a bleak picture in the care sector with the new, more transmissable variant likely proving even harder to keep out of care homes than the original version of the disease.

The second wave is also significantly longer than the first wave of the virus due to restrictions taking longer to lower the overall prevalence of the virus and the addition of the new, more transmissable variant leading to more cases of Covid-19.

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