Comparing England and Scotland is problematic on a number of points but especially because of the huge population difference (11 times) and the distorting effect of the differences in wealth and health between Scotland and the South including a mega-city.

The North-west of England with its two major cities, Liverpool and Manchester and a population only around 40% higher, is much more comparable. As with Glasgow, these two cities experienced the devastating effects of de-industrialisation in the 70s and 80s.

Despite the similarities, however, Glasgow and other deprived areas in Scotland such as Dundee and Lanarkshire, have long had and continue to have, shorter life expectancy than the two English cities. Known as the ‘Glasgow effect’, this makes the much higher death toll in NW England all the more remarkable.

NW England’s population (7.3m) is 1.33 times higher than that of Scotland (5.5m).

NW England’s covid-19 infection rate (19 435) as of May 2, is 1.6 times higher than that of Scotland (11 927).

NW England’s covid-19 death rate (4 003) as of 28 April, is 2.5 times higher than that of Scotland, as of 3 May (1 571).

Once more we ask why. Once more, here is a list of possible reasons:

  • NHS Scotland’s higher staffing ratio.
  • Scotland’s hospitals with their in-house cleaning did not have mass Norovirus closures last winter as NHS England did.
  • NHS Scotland’s vastly superior A&E performance.
  • Scotland’s 50 unique coronavirus assessment centres keeping infected patients away from GP surgeries.
  • Evidence that urban Scots have obeyed the social distancing rules more than their counterparts in the South.