PEOPLE living in the poorest parts of Scotland are more than twice as likely to die from coronavirus compared to those in the most affluent areas.

New data from the National Records of Scotland found people in the most deprived neighbours were 2.3 times as likely to succumb to the virus.

The coronavirus death rate was 86.5 per 100,000 people in the poorest fifth of neighbourhoods, compared to 38.2 in the richest fifth.

It also found more 90% of victims had a pre-existing condition, with dementia and Alzhemier's disease the most common 'co-morbidity'.

However this may reflect the age of the fatalities.

The data also showed almost half of all coronavirus deaths in Scotland to date have been in care homes, close to twice the reported level in England, according to official figures.

The weekly toll compiled by NRS showed Covid-19 has now been implicated in a total of 3,213 deaths in Scotland up to May 10.

Of these, 1438 or 45% were in care homes, while 1537 or 48% were in hospitals.

The total number of deaths in Scotland where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate was up 15% from last week’s total of 2,798.

However for the second week in a row, the number of Covid deaths in the previous seven days fell, from 525 to 415, compared to a peak of 658 in late April.

The NRS tally includes cases where suspected Covid-19 was recorded as a factor on the death certificate.

It is considered more accurate than the daily running total produced by Health Protection Scotland (HPS), which only counts laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The NRS cumulative figure was 73% higher than the 1862 deaths recorded by HPS as of May 10.

At First Minister's Questions, Nicola Sturgeon said the figures showed "further and sustained signs of hope", with week-on-week falls in the number of Covid deaths, deaths in care homes, and excess deathss.

However she said it was still too early to relax.

Data from the Office of National Statistics this week for England and Wales said 8312, or 24.9%, of the 33,408 Covid-related deaths there up to May 1 had been in care homes.

However a new study from the London School of Economics today suggests the true figure could be more than 22,000, putting it on a similar level to deaths in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon has previously expressed scepticism about the accuracy of the care home death figures in England and Wales.

At FMQs, she said she did not believe the death rate in Scotland's care homes was twice that in England, and blamed under-reporting of Covid deaths in homes south of the border.

Despite this, serious concerns have been raised over the suitability of standard issue PPE, modelled largely on the male form, for women.

Other data out released by the health service showed 61% of those who had tested positive from the virus were women, almost most deaths are of men.

Glasgow MSP Pauline McNeill, Scottish Labour's Equalities spokesperson, said: “It is clear that women and the poorest in society are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic.

“With many of the most deprived unable to shield properly and facing the prospect of being forced to return to work, all must be done to protect their health.

“The stark gender disparity in today’s statistics further underlines serious concerns over the suitability of PPE for the female body.

“We cannot have a person’s gender or income determining if they are more likely or not to contract coronavirus.

"The Scottish Government must do all it can to help women and the poorest in our society and in doing so they will have the full support of Scottish Labour.”

Chris McEleny, leader of the SNP group on Inverclyde council, which has the worst mortality rate in Scotland, called for a "deprivation fund" and testing hubs in the most deprived communities. 

He said: "These latest figures continue to hit home the tragic loss of life we are facing.

"People in Inverclyde, and other deprived communities, should not be more likely to die of a global pandemic just because of the area they were born in. 

“It’s not acceptable that essential workers and their families continue to be required to travel upwards of 90 miles to get a test -this will result in too few people being tested. 

"Despite consistently being hit harder by any other area in Scotland there remains no facility for the majority of our community to be tested.

"We need to have a community testing facility established immediately so we can begin testing people so that we can trace their contacts and isolate them. Members of our community are continuing to die whilst we don’t."