Community-based Covid-19 mortality

The overall aim of this study is to assess the sociodemographic and health characteristics of those contracted Covid-19 and their associations with mortality and critical care admission as compared to the general population.

Our research focus

Older people, particularly those living in care homes, have been profoundly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in Scotland. Around 90% of all deaths in Scotland were in those over 65 and almost half of Covid-19 deaths have occurred in care homes (with a similar amount occurring in hospital). Early research into the characteristics of those dying from Covid-19 has focussed almost exclusively on the in-hospital population.

There remains many unanswered questions about the health, socioeconomic, and demographic characteristics of the many people who have died with Covid-19 outside hospital and if they differ (or how they differ) from those that died in hospital. There is also an urgent need to identify the medium to long-term impacts of the pandemic on those that contracted the virus and survived, and those whose lives have dramatically changed due to lockdown measures.   

This study aims to help fill that gap in knowledge. As Scotland moves out of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, this research is urgently required to a) help inform policy and practice regarding potential future waves of the virus and b) help inform future research into what happened during the first wave.

Our initial aim will be to characterise the sociodemographic and health features of those over the age of 65 that have been identified as contracting Covid-19 and their associations with mortality. We will undertake a retrospective observational study using administrative health and demographic data. The study will include all individuals in Scotland aged 65 or over, and alive on 1st March 2020.

Data this research aims to link and analyse

The questions we look to address cannot be answered using publicly available or hospital-based data, instead we'll be accessing information from a range of datasets, including the following:

  • The CHI registry (primarily for cohort identification and demographic information)
  • National Records of Scotland Deaths
  • Unscheduled Care Deaths
  • ECOSS laboratory test results
  • Prescribing Information System DCVP Dispensed
  • Primary Care (a unique extract from every Scottish GP practice)
  • Diabetes database
  • SIGSAG hospital critical care episodes
  • SMR01 Acute hospital admissions
  • Unscheduled health care use

Research team

David Henderson, Jenni Burton, Iain AthertonJan SavincElizabeth Lemmon, Professor David Bell, Susan Shenkin.

Publications, Outputs and Media Coverage

This project is now complete.

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