Covid-19 patient numbers and deaths remain “stubbornly high” experts have warned despite the success of the vaccination programme and a drop in infection rates in Scotland

After peaking at record levels in recent weeks, cases in Scotland are now falling. 

The latest statistics by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), estimates that 97,700 people had COVID-19 - equating to around 1 in 55 people - the week ending September 25. 

It's an improvement on last week when around one in 45 were infected, but the figure is still higher than England (one in 85) and Northern Ireland (one in 65). 

Vaccines have also played a key role in keeping Covid-19 patient numbers and deaths during the third wave.


Even with record daily numbers of new cases of coronavirus during the third wave, patient levels have never exceeded those seen during the second wave.

But even though patient numbers have dropped slightly in recently weeks, they are still at a level that is “stubbornly high”, and need to “fall significantly before pressure on the NHS starts to build up during the winter”, according to Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.

Though each UK nation has experienced a slightly different “shape” of the third wave, the latest figures “show that there is still a lot of Covid about”, according to Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading.

“We have been bumping along at a similar rate for the past few weeks, with infections currently being driven by secondary school-aged children.”

Around 8 percent of people aged 16 and over have still not received any doses of Covid-19 vaccine, official figures show.

Experts have said that getting those people vaccinated could help flatten the line before winter.

“Although only a small minority of adults remain unvaccinated, they are greatly over-represented among hospital cases and deaths,” Professor Woolhouse told the PA news agency.

“The most obvious and direct way to reduce both the risk to individuals and the burden on the NHS as a whole is a concerted effort to encourage unvaccinated adults to get vaccinated.

"It is worrying that vaccination coverage in the UK is now below that of some other European countries.”

The UK has delivered both doses of vaccine to nearly 67% of its total population, behind the likes of Belgium (72%), Ireland (73%), Spain (78%) and Portugal (85%).

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Professor Woolhouse said the vaccination programme is continuing to have a significant impact on the rate of transmission of coronavirus, pointing to the example of Scotland which is now seeing a steady drop in cases, the “first time there has been a sustained fall in the absence of a lockdown” and which is “consistent with an impact of herd immunity”.