Last updated: 16 September 2020

Here is detailed information on current evidence for direct and indirect health impacts, and social and economic impacts, of COVID-19.

You can find explanatory detail on the evidence for each impact, the data sources and (where applicable) methodology for this evidence, and any caveats that should be taken into account when interpreting or using these figures.





1. Direct health impacts

R number

On 9 September, R in Scotland was estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.5.

The R value is estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.5.

It is vital that we keep the R number consistently below 1 and see the number of infectious people continue to fall. If we do not, the virus will quickly spread again and any relaxation of lockdown conditions will most likely have to be reversed. A sustained increase above 1 would indicate exponential growth in the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths causing very significant harm to Scotland’s health, society and economy should prevalence be at an elevated level.

This is why it is important to remain vigilant and respond quickly to any local outbreaks. The R number can be thought of as the average number of people that each infected person passes the virus on to. At this stage of the epidemic, where the number of new infections is lower than the peak in March, estimates of R become increasingly uncertain, and can be strongly influenced by local or regional outbreaks, such as we have seen recently in Aberdeen and the West of Scotland.

Source: Scottish Government

Methodology: SAGE Consensus





New infections

As of 9 September COVID-19 incidence in Scotland was estimated to be between 0 and 13 new daily infections per 100,000 people.

The various groups which report to the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) use different sources of data in their models to produce estimates of incidence. SPI-M’s consensus view across these methods, as of 9 September, was that the incidence of new daily infections in Scotland was between 0 and 13 new infections per 100,000 people. This equates to between 0 – 700 people becoming infected each day in Scotland.

Estimates of the number of infectious people from Scottish Government epidemiological modelling were previously presented here. The modelling was based on deaths per day and other data. We have stopped reporting the outputs from the model since, at this point in the epidemic with very low numbers of deaths to inform its outputs, the results of the model have begun to underestimate prevalence and incidence.

Source: Scottish Government

Methodology: SPI-M Consensus





Cases

The number of new COVID-19 cases is reduced from the April peak but increased over the last five weeks.

There were over 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed each week in April from NHS laboratories alone. Although we now include the results of the UK Government testing programme as well, the number of confirmed cases is considerably lower. By early July there were fewer than 60 new cases in a week, but for the week ending 6 September there were over 1,200. The chart shows the cases by the date they were reported.

The World Health Organisation recommends looking at several indicators when considering whether the epidemic is controlled. This data is needed to keep track of new positive cases and to monitor the progression and impact of the virus in Scotland.

These figures will be an underestimate of the number of cases. Not everyone with COVID-19 will display symptoms and not all those with symptoms will be tested.

Source: SG open data platform

Methodology: Case count is number of cases reported by diagnostic laboratories to Health Protection Scotland as of 08:00 (GMT) on each date. Prior to 15 June, the number of Covid-19 cases are for those confirmed only by a NHS Scotland laboratory. From 15 June the numbers include a further 2,246 people tested positive through the UK Government testing programme.





Deaths

Fewer people are dying of COVID-19 since a peak in April.

After peaking at 661 in the week ending 26 April, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 has reduced, and is now less than 1% of the peak level.

The World Health Organisation recommends looking at several indicators when considering whether the epidemic is controlled. One of these is a decline in the number of deaths among confirmed and probable cases at least for the last 3 weeks.

As of 13 September, there have been a total of 4,236 deaths registered where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. The first mention of COVID-19 in a registered death certificate was the week beginning 16 March 2020. In the most recent week (7 to 13 September), there were 5 deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, an increase of 3 from the previous week (31 August to 6 September). Two of these deaths took place in care homes and three in hospitals.

Source: National Records of Scotland

Methodology: The figures in this publication focus on deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate (either as a confirmed or suspected cause of death).





COVID-19 hospital admissions

COVID-19 hospital admissions are considerably lower than the peak in April, but have increased slightly in recent weeks.

The number of COVID-19 hospital admissions per day is significantly lower than the peak in the first week of April. However, there has been a small increase in recent weeks, with an average of 2.6 COVID-19 admissions per day in the two weeks up to 2 September.

COVID-19 hospital admission numbers give an indication of the impacts the virus is having on the NHS. This is an important measure for tracking the progress of the virus and helps to assess ongoing COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 pressures on the NHS.

Source: Public Health Scotland

Methodology: Data from Public Health Scotland. Based on those who were either COVID-19 positive up to 14 days before their admission or had a positive result during their stay.





2. Indirect health impacts

A&E attendances

A&E attendances fell after lockdown but have increased steadily since the end of March.

The number of A&E attendances decreased to 40% of normal pre-COVID-19 levels in the week ending 29 March. Since then, A&E attendances have been increasing steadily. The latest data shows that A&E attendances are at 83% of normal levels.

A&E attendance numbers give an indication of the wider impacts COVID-19 is having across the NHS. The number of people attending A&E dropped to a low point in the week ending 29 March 2020. Since then, A&E attendances have been increasing steadily. The 'NHS is Open' campaign was launched on 24 April to encourage members of the public not to delay seeking medical advice.

Source: NHSScotland open data platform

Methodology: Does not include attendances to Minor Injury Units. Data from Public Health Scotland. Additional breakdowns (e.g. by Health Board) are available via the referenced source.





Excess deaths

Deaths are 5% above the normal level.

After peaking at 878 in the week ending 12 April, the number of excess deaths has reduced. For the most recent week (ending 13 September) deaths are 5% above the normal level.

Excess deaths are the total number of deaths registered in a week in 2020 minus the average number of deaths registered in the same week over the period 2015 to 2019. Measuring excess deaths allows us to track seasonal influenza, pandemics and other public health threats. Excess deaths include deaths caused by COVID-19 and those resulting from other causes. In this chart, excess deaths are shown by the difference between the grey line, which shows the weekly average for deaths over the previous 5 years (2015 – 2019), and the blue line showing total deaths in 2020.

The other blue line on this chart is labelled ‘COVID-19 deaths 2020’ - this shows weekly totals for the number of COVID-19 deaths. Presenting this alongside ‘total deaths 2020’ shows the extent to which COVID-19 deaths have contributed to the number of excess deaths in 2020, and the extent to which the number of excess deaths may be attributable to other causes or indirectly caused by COVID-19. In the week ending 26 April, there were 661 COVID-19 deaths that contributed to an overall total of 1,836 deaths. The 5 year weekly average tells us that we would typically expect 1,087 deaths in that week – there is a difference (or ‘excess’) of 749, of which 661 were related to COVID-19.

Source: National Records of Scotland

Methodology: Excess deaths are the total number of deaths registered in a week in 2020 minus the average number of deaths registered in the same week over the period 2015 to 2019.





Emergency and planned admissions

After lockdown there was a fall in emergency and planned hospital admissions. Since 29 March, emergency admissions have increased. Since 19 April, planned admissions have increased.

The number of emergency admissions dropped to 60% of normal pre-COVID-19 levels in the week ending 29 March, and has been increasing since then. Latest data shows emergency admissions are at 89% of normal levels. The number of planned hospital admissions dropped to 27% of normal pre-COVID-19 levels in the week ending 19 April. The number of planned admissions has been increasing gradually since then. Latest data shows planned admissions are at 68% of normal levels.

Hospital admission numbers give an indication of the wider impacts COVID-19 is having across the NHS. The number of emergency admissions dropped to a low point in the week ending 29 March; the number of planned hospital admissions dropped to a low point in the week ended 19 April. All elective procedures were suspended when lockdown began. Emergency and planned admission numbers have since increased. The 'NHS is Open' campaign was launched on 24 April to encourage members of the public not to delay seeking medical advice.

Public Health Scotland publishes a dashboard which presents more information on the wider impacts COVID-19 is having on the health care system. It provides information on hospital admissions, unscheduled care and volume of calls to NHS24. You can view the data presented by age, sex, deprivation quintile, specialty, elective versus emergency and by geographical location.

Source: NHSScotland open data platform

Methodology: Data from Public Health Scotland. Additional breakdowns (e.g. by Health Board) are available via the referenced source.





People avoiding GPs or hospitals

People have been reluctant to go to a GP or hospital for immediate non-COVID-19 health concerns, but are becoming more willing to.



The proportion of people who agree that they would avoid GPs or hospital for immediate non-COVID-19 health concerns has decreased, from a high of 45% in late April. Since then, it has reduced, and is now at 25%.

There has been a reluctance from people to seek non-COVID-19 healthcare treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence suggests that during the pandemic between 25-45% of people agreed or strongly agreed they would avoid visiting GPs or hospitals for immediate non-COVID-19 health concerns. This proportion was highest in April but has decreased by over a third since then, suggesting that although some people may be becoming more willing to seek treatment for immediate non-COVID-19 health concerns, there is still a relatively high proportion of people who are worried about this. Responses were broadly similar across different groups of the population.

Source: YouGov Plc

Methodology: Web panel survey. Total sample size is c. 1000 adults each week. Fieldwork undertaken from 21-23 April onwards, weekly. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).





3. Societal impacts

Education

On 10 September the overall attendance rate at local authority primary, secondary and special schools was 92.5%.

From 11 August, schools started to re-open and pupils began to return to school. Provisional figures for Thursday 10 September show that the overall attendance rate at local authority primary, secondary and special schools was 92.5%. The percentage of school openings where pupils were not in school for COVID-19 related reasons was 1.5%, and for non COVID-19 related reasons was 6.0%.

Schools were closed in March due to COVID-19 restrictions. Throughout lockdown, children and young people whose parents/carers are key workers, and vulnerable children and young people, were to have access to care and schooling in settings outside of the home. This was so that key workers can continue with their work, and vulnerable children and young people can access safe support and learning. The number of children and young people at education settings gradually increased throughout lockdown, but remained a very low proportion of all children and young people. Scottish Government Education Analytical Services publishes a dashboard which presents information on this.

Source: Scottish Government COVID-19: daily data for Scotland

Methodology: This information is provisional and currently based on Local Authority schools only (primary, secondary and special schools). The attendance and absence rates are calculated on the number of half days (i.e. openings) a child or young person is recorded being in or out of school (together with the reason for not being in school), as recorded on school management information systems. The number of children and young people who are absent due to COVID-19-related reasons is based on counting any child or young person who is recorded as being absent due to a COVID-19-related reason for all or part of the day (i.e. all day, or for half a day).





Crisis grants

Scottish Welfare Fund crisis grant applications were 16% higher in July 2020 than in July 2019.

The Scottish Welfare Fund is administered by local authorities. Crisis grants aim to help people who are in crisis because of a disaster or an emergency.

In March 2020 demand for crisis grants started increasing rapidly compared to previous years and continued to increase in April 2020. This suggests that more people were experiencing emergencies (such as income or benefits being used up, or money being stolen) or disasters (such as fires or floods). It is likely that the increase in applications is due to financial hardship resulting from COVID-19. Demand for crisis grants then decreased in May, June and July 2020 but remained higher than in the same months in 2019.

Source: Scottish Government

Methodology: Figures are collected from local authorities at the end of each month and combined to Scotland level.





Crime

Since lockdown there has been an overall reduction in crime recorded by police.

The overall number of crimes recorded by the police between April to July 2020 was 8% lower than the same period in 2019. In April 2020 recorded crime was 18% lower than April 2019. For the most recent month - July 2020 - recorded crime was 7% lower than in July 2019.

Changes in police recorded crime is one indicator of the impact that the COVID-19 restrictions are having across society. For example while there has been a reduction in violence and sexual crime, there has been an increase in fraud. Some caution is advised before attributing all differences to COVID-19. Longer term trends, which existed before the pandemic, may remain a factor in some types of offending recorded by the police.

Source: Recorded Crime in Scotland: July 2020

Methodology: The total figure for recorded crime excludes the new crimes being recorded under the recently enacted coronavirus legislation. See the source publication for more information.





Loneliness

People report high levels of loneliness, even as restrictions on socialising have eased slightly.

In Ipsos MORI surveys carried out between May and July 2020 between 53-59% felt lonely some/most/almost all or all of the time. This indicator is now measured by YouGov surveys with the same question, but slightly different sampling method and 44-46% of people said they experienced loneliness in the four survey waves carried out in July through to September.

The lockdown period has been associated with higher than usual levels of reported loneliness. The majority of people report feeling lonely at least some of the time in the previous week. This has persisted even as restrictions on social gatherings have eased slightly. People aged 18-44 are more likely to have felt lonely at least some of the time than those aged 45+.

Source: YouGov

Methodology: Web panel survey. Total sample size is c. 1000 adults each week. Fieldwork undertaken from 28 July onwards, weekly. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+) in terms of age, gender, social class, region and level of education . Previous trends on this measure were taken from Ipsos Mori surveys, which had a smaller sample size (c500-650) and were representative of Scottish adults (aged 16-74) in terms of age and gender. In July the questions were transferred to a YouGov survey to consolidate our data collection across Scottish Government teams and research needs.





Trust in Scottish Government

There are consistently high levels of trust in the Scottish Government.

Since mid-May, the proportion of people who said they trusted the Scottish Government to work in Scotland’s best interests, in Ipsos MORI surveys was between 73% and 79%. This is now measured by YouGov survey using the same question and with a similar measure, and is 73% this wave.

Evidence suggests consistently high levels of trust in the Scottish Government. Since mid-May, around three quarters to four fifths of people have said they trust the Scottish Government to work in Scotland’s best interests. Women are more likely than men to say they trust the Scottish Government a great deal/quite a lot to work in Scotland’s best interests.

Source: YouGov

Methodology: Web panel survey. Total sample size is c. 1000 adults each week. Fieldwork undertaken from 28 July onwards, weekly. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+) in terms of age, gender, social class, region and level of education . Previous trends on this measure were taken from Ipsos Mori surveys, which had a smaller sample size (c500-650) and were representative of Scottish adults (aged 16-74) in terms of age and gender. In July the questions were transferred to a YouGov survey to consolidate our data collection across Scottish Government teams and research needs.





Perceived threat to jobs

Around one quarter of employees are worried about the threat COVID-19 poses to their job.

People who are employed were asked how worried they are about the impact of COVID-19 on their job. Consistent with previous weeks, 26% report a perceived 'high' or 'very high' threat to their job.

The measures introduced to control the spread of COVID-19 have involved the shutdown of many parts of the economy. Recent waves of data collection show that around a quarter perceive a 'high' or 'very high' threat to their job.

Source: YouGov

Methodology: Web panel survey. Total sample size is c. 1000 adults each week. Fieldwork undertaken from 14 July onwards, weekly. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+) in terms of age, gender, social class, region and level of education . We previously presented analysis on a similar measure from a different source. Since the sources are not directly comparable we are only showing newer data from YouGov.





Transport

The number of people saying they are concerned about people contracting or spreading COVID-19 on public transport remains high.

There has been a consistently high number of people saying they are 'very' or 'fairly' concerned about people contracting or spreading COVID-19 on public transport. This peaked during lockdown at 82%. At the most recent measure, 68% of people agreed with this.

There is a high level of concern about people contracting or spreading COVID-19 when using public transport, and about being able to observe physical distancing on public transport. Women demonstrate consistently higher concern about people contracting or spreading the virus on public transport than men - this may reflect that women typically have less access to a car than men, and are more likely to be more reliant on public transport, particularly buses. Some people have more access to alternatives to public transport than others. Households with higher income are more likely to have access to a car or a van. People from lower income households are more reliant on public transport and active travel e.g. walking. Considering whether a journey is necessary, whether active travel is an option, and whether a journey could be made on public transport at non-peak times of day, could reduce the risk posed to those who need to use public transport at specific times.

Source: Transport Scotland Public Attitudes Survey

Methodology: Telephone survey





4. Economic impacts

Monthly Business Turnover Index (MBTI)

Business turnover has fallen sharply across most sectors.

All Industries

Manufacturing and Services

Services industries

In July, Scotland's business turnover index was 28.5. This is up from 24.4 in June, but remains significantly below its normal range of around 45 to 55 seen since 2011.

The Monthly Business Turnover Index gives an early indicator of business activity in Scotland, based on survey data used by the Scottish Government for GDP statistics. Latest results for July indicate that there has been an increase in business activity over the month but that total output remains lower than last year. The turnover index has increased in each of the last three months, from the lowest value of 18.7 in April, and is in keeping with other business indicators reflecting the ongoing easing of restrictions on activity and signalling gradual recovery in business activity. However, the broad based falls in business turnover compared to last year continue to emphasise the challenging trading environment that many businesses are facing.

Women and young people (aged under 25) are more likely to work in some sectors which have been most affected by restrictions (e.g. Accommodation and Food Services) in which the average wage is low. This means employees are likely to be more vulnerable to reductions in income levels that could accompany changes to or loss of employment.

Source: Scottish Government

Methodology: The Monthly Business Turnover Index is an experimental statistics release. It is based on data from the ONS Monthly Business Survey and Retail Sales Inquiry. It reports the net balance of firms reporting increasing or decreasing turnover, in real terms, compared to 12 months ago. Values below 50 indicate that more companies are showing decreased turnover than increased turnover.





Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

GDP has fallen sharply during the pandemic and lockdown.

In June, Scotland's GDP grew 5.7% (UK: 8.7%), despite the pickup in May and June, Scottish GDP remained 17.6% below its level in February (UK: 17.2%).

The pandemic and necessary restrictions are having an unprecedented impact on the economy. Scotland’s GDP increased by 5.7% in June, this follows an increase of 2.3% in May and falls of 19.2% in April and 5.8% in March. As such, GDP remains 17.6% below its level in February, prior to lockdown measures. In June there has been a wider pickup in activity than in May, with output increasing in all the main industry sectors, and in most of the sub-sectors within these.

Source: Scottish Government

Methodology: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the broadest and most widely used measure of economic activity. Changes in GDP over time are estimated using information about the output of each industry across all sectors of the economy. Monthly GDP estimates are experimental statistics, which means that they are still in development but have been released to enable their use at an early stage. All results are provisional and subject to relatively high levels of uncertainty. Further information can be found at www.gov.scot/gdp.





Unemployment

Unemployment increased over the quarter to April - June.

In April - June Scotland's unemployment rate was 4.5% (UK: 3.9%). This was up 0.4 percentage points over the quarter and 0.8 percentage points over the year.

Scotland's unemployment rate has risen over the quarter, however, it is important to note that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and support for the Self-Employed have been supporting the level of employment. At the end of June, 736,500 employments in Scotland were registered on the Job Retention Scheme and 155,000 self-employed individuals had made a claim to the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. UK level data shows that the youngest employees are more likely to have been registered on the Job Retention Scheme, with the youngest female employees most likely to have been furloughed. 61% of female employees aged 17 have been furloughed, compared to 58% of male employees aged 17. Across all age groups, men are slightly more likely to be registered on the Job Retention Scheme, making up approximately 54% of furloughed employees.

Source: Scottish Government Office for National Statistics

Methodology: The unemployment rate shows the proportion of the economically active population (age 16 years +) who are unemployed (seeking work and available to work).





Claimant Count

The Claimant Count has increased sharply since March.

In July, Scotland's Claimant Count was 222,300. This was up 4.3% since June and had doubled since March.

The Claimant Count measures the number of people claiming benefit principally for the reason of being unemployed. The sharp rise in the Claimant Count since March during lockdown signals that unemployment is rising and incomes are falling.In the period 13 March to 9 April, 56% of Universal Credit new starts were male, and 44% were female. Since March, a larger than usual proportion of Universal Credit new starts are men, suggesting that men are initially more likely than women to have become unemployed since lockdown. This means that the overall gender split of people on Universal Credit has changed - slightly more men than women now claim Universal Credit. In the same period, the majority of new starts to Universal Credit were in the 35-49 age group (33%), followed by people aged 25-34 (31%).

Source: Scottish Government Office for National Statistics

Methodology: The Claimant Count data is experimental and includes those claimants of Universal Credit who are required to search for work, i.e. within the Searching for Work conditionality regime as defined by the Department for Work & Pensions, as well as all Jobseekers Allowance claimants.