Hearing the rumours of a Covid crisis in Scotland, Kirsty Wark and the Newsnight pack rushed to Glasgow to share their confusion with us. In a tale of surging numbers, higher than England, packed hospitals and sick young folk, they almost let Prof Bauld explain what had happened and presumably, had they, why it’s a good thing, a very good thing indeed.
Why is it a good thing?
Because it’s an effect of saving thousands of lives earlier.
How did we save those thousands of lives?
Well, Prof Bauld did get to say, explaining the surge in Scotland:
‘And then the final thing may be that earlier in the pandemic we had lower levels of infection.’
Prof Bauld didn’t get to point out that Scotland has only had 141.9 deaths per 100 000 population over the pandemic compared to 200.5 in England, because we had lower levels of infections overall.
If we had experienced the same death rate as England, 33% more would have died.
We had 7 750 deaths. We would have had more than 10 000, around 2 580 more deaths, most in care homes.
Why did we have fewer deaths?
Because we had lower infection levels. Over the pandemic, we had 5 668 infections per 100 000 population. England had 7 805.
Why did we have lower infection levels?
Clear, consistent, empathetic messaging from the FM and thus higher compliance, quicker, targeted and more extended measures in hotspots, quicker roll-out of vaccines in care homes.
So, why the surge now?
Because we concentrated on protecting the most vulnerable and, inevitably given the supply quotas, took longer to vaccinate the younger population and because England’s less strict measures allowed the virus to spread more widely in January and that created more immunity among the population in England:
We pay a price now but we saved thousands of lives in the process of getting here. The infection surge among the young now, will cost lives but far fewer than if we had acted differently. It is already flattening, well below that in England, in January.
We did well.
The FT knew this in February:
The BBC have clearly yet to get it or to want to get it.