23,370 deaths were registered in Scotland in the four months of winter 2020/21, the second highest total in the last 30 years, according to statistics published today by National Records of Scotland.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) was the underlying cause of nearly two-thirds, or 2,850, of the 4,330 additional deaths last winter.
The other causes of death with the largest seasonal increases last winter were dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and coronary (ischaemic) heart disease – both with 210 additional deaths each.
Very few deaths were directly due to cold weather, for example hypothermia.
Older age groups are consistently the most affected by winter mortality.
Last winter, of those aged 85 and over there were 13 additional deaths per 1,000 of the population, compared to fewer than 1 death per 1,000 amongst those aged under 65.
The seasonal increase in mortality in winter is generally lower in Scotland than in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Pete Whitehouse, Director of Statistical Services at NRS, said:
“’These figures show again the significant impact COVID-19 had on Scotland last winter.
“Compared to the average of the previous five winters, the winter of 2020/21 saw a 10% higher level of mortality, with the majority of additional deaths being due to COVID-19.”