Scotland records highest weekly number of flu deaths for more than 20 years

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Scotland recorded the highest weekly number of flu deaths in more than 20 years last week.

The NHS has seen “extraordinary levels” of influenza resulting in “the most challenging winter” in the health service’s existence.

The deaths from flu of 121 people were registered, according to statistics released by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) on Thursday – an increase of 91 from the previous week.

Figures also show the total number of deaths in Scotland last week soared to 29% above the five-year average with 2,020 registered.

The average number of deaths per day rose in late December to 235 deaths, before falling slightly in early January.

The last time daily deaths were at this level was in January 2021 when Covid accounted for 30% of all fatalities.

Pete Whitehouse, director of statistical services at NRS, said: “Deaths involving influenza have risen in recent weeks.

“There were 121 deaths where influenza was mentioned on the death certificate in week two of this year, up from 91 in the previous week. This is the highest weekly number of flu deaths registered in over 20 years.”

“The latest figures show that last week there were 101 deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. This is 17 more than in the previous week.”

As of January 15, this brings the total number of deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate to 16,568.

Nine people in total have died as a result of adverse effects of the Covid-19 vaccine, with four further deaths where an adverse effect was mentioned on the death certificate. There was no change to this number in December 2022.

The standardized death rate for Covid-19 rose in December – 59 per 100,000 compared to 40 in 100,000 the previous month.

Throughout the pandemic, the highest death rate for Covid was 585 in 100,000 in April 2020.

Around 93% of people whose deaths involved Covid between March 2020 and December 2022 had at least one pre-existing condition, with the most common being dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

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