Death rates in Scotland 2020: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. Whether the 2,491 ‘positive’ deaths are included in the 4,201 ‘mentioned’ category, or whether these are separate categories

2. What was the breakdown of the actual causes of death in all cases, during 2020 to date?

3. As subsets of item 2:
a) What is the actual number of deaths which are judged to be directly attributable to COVID 19 in this period?
4. b) What is the actual number of deaths caused by suicide during 2020 to date, by comparison with other comparable periods in the years 2010 – 2019?


There are two reporting measures of COVID-19 deaths in Scotland:
1. The daily reported deaths figures refers to the total number of individuals who died within 28 days of their first laboratory report of COVID-19 infection and were registered with National Records of Scotland. Therefore the HPS daily figures only includes deaths where people have tested positive for COVID-19 ("confirmed deaths") so it does not include suspected cases of COVID-19 and/or where no tests have occurred. This most recent figures indicate that 2,491 individuals have died where COVID-19 has been confirmed by a lab positive test result.

2. A weekly reported deaths figure which is produced by the National Records of Scotland (NRS). This reports all deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate so it will include "suspected" cases of COVID-19 where an individual may not have been tested. The most recent figures, report that as at 2nd August, a total of 4,208 deaths were registered in Scotland where the COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

National Records of Scotland also produce figures of COVID-19 related deaths by underlying cause of death. Of all deaths involving COVID-19 registered by 2nd August, it was the underlying cause in 93% of cases (3,905 out of 4,208). These can be found on Table 4 in the excel download via the link:

The Scottish Government does not currently hold have the information on the number of deaths caused by suicides for 2020 to date. Information on deaths by suicide are published yearly by National Records Scotland (NRS). In relation to deaths by suicide in 2020, this data would not usually be available until June 2021.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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