I used to teach 11 year-olds how to do and how to use percentages. It’s not that difficult but if you’re a late middle-aged Sun journalist on with Good Morning Scotland’s less than bright team, it seems to be a problem.

Add in an agenda to find anything, anything, to chuck at Nicola and all pretense of accuracy goes right out of the window and into the Clyde.

This morning, Lynn Davidson of the Sun said:

About the dreadful figures in care homes and the number of deaths which is something like, in England and Wales, 28% of all fatalities, involving coronavirus whereas in Scotland it’s 47%. It’s been really terrible in care homes in Scotland.

If she is serious, she is then seriously challenged.

Those statistics do not, of themselves tell you that things have been worse in Scottish care homes. What matters here is what percentage of all those living in care homes died.

In fact deaths in Scottish care homes were 10% lower than in England and Wakes.

Here’s the evidence:

On July 27th, BBC Scotland drew our attention to this:

Nearly half of Scotland’s 4,193 coronavirus deaths have been linked to care homes.

They went on to tell us:

Data also reveals that since mid-March there have been 2,365 “excess deaths” [all causes] in Scottish care homes as measured against the five-year average.

Their data comes from:

Given the repeated suggestions that the death rate has been higher in Scotland, some reliable figures would be useful.

Earlier in July, BBC UK had published just what BBC Scotland needed, ONS data on excess deaths:

Almost 30,000 more care home residents in England and Wales died during the coronavirus outbreak than during the same period in 2019, ONS figures show.


England and Wales has 11 times the population so, all things being equal, the rate there would have been just over 26 000 but it is ‘almost 30 000’. The Scottish rate is 10% lower.