As of last night, there were 22 deaths from 719 cases giving a rate of 3%. The UK average rate with 433 deaths from 8 227 cases is 5.3%.

The rate in Italy has risen to more than 10% while in Germany it remains below 1%.

While more factors than we can measure will be behind these variations, I remain sure that the performance of health services must be one, and so NHS Scotland must be praised for what they have achieved in saving lives.

Some, especially on Twitter, have criticised both these data and what they think are my motivations. I’ve been accused of being ‘political’, ‘smug’ and, of course, of using meaningless statistics.

I realise that these comparative statistics cannot be considered wholly accurate indicators of the differences between the performance of health services but does anyone believe that 10 years of Tory austerity has not wounded NHS England and damaged its ability to deal with crises thus increasing the mortality rate? Does anyone not believe that there is a real difference in performance by the Italian and German health services?

As for ‘political?’ Of course. My main drives here are political. First, I aim to defend the reputation of NHS Scotland, with evidence, and by association the Scottish Government and by association the Independence movement. Second, I aim to refute the outrageous clearly political, infantile, and nauseatingly smug suggestion by Boris Johnson that Scotland’s public services had ‘issues of resilience’ going into the crisis. The evidence is already in.