Scotland is currently experiencing a disproportinately high number of Covid re-infections compared to elsewhere in the UK
Covid re-infection rates in Scotland are currently 2.5 times higher compared to in England, new analysis shows.
Scotland has seen coronavirus infection rates surge ahead of other UK nations recently, with the increase in cases prompting Nicola Sturgeon to delay a planned end to mandatory face masks on public transport.
But NationalWorld analysis of UK Covid dashboard figures show people north of the border are not only catching Covid for the first time in greater numbers than elsewhere in the UK – there is also a disproportionately high number of re-infections.
More than one in seven of Scotland’s re-infections to date in the pandemic occurred in just the first 11 days of March.
In the week to 11 March, 7,940 Covid re-infections were recorded in Scotland, a rate of 145.3 per 100,000 people. That was 2.5 times the rate in England (58.4 per 100,000) and 1.4 times as many as Northern Ireland (104.7). There is no equivalent data for Wales.
People in Scotland were also 2.6 times as likely to catch Covid for the first time compared to England in the same week.
Covid cases are counted as two separate infections if they occured at least 90 days apart. If there is a shorter interval between positive tests, it is counted as the same infection episode.
While Scotland has recorded more re-infections than England in recent weeks, both countries have seen similar numbers for the pandemic as a whole. As of 11 March, 1,343.2 re-infections had been recorded for every 100,000 Scots, compared to a rate of 1,312.6 in England.
It is unknown how many people have been re-infected more than once.
Re-infections to date have been much higher in Northern Ireland, with 1,857.7 re-infections for every 100,000 people.
Northern Ireland has also seen the highest proportion of residents contract Covid at least once – 32,887 in every 100,000, or almost one in three people have now had the virus.
If a greater proportion of a population has had Covid once, it automatically means there are more people who catch it again.
Both Scotland and England have seen a similar proportion of their residents contract Covid during the pandemic.
As of 11 March, 27,778 people in every 100,000 in Scotland had had Covid at least once. In England, the rate was slightly higher, at 27,973.
In Scotland, 15.5% of re-infections recorded to date (more than one in seven) occurred in the last 11 days alone, between 1 and 11 March, compared to 6.1% of England’s and 8.6% of Northern Ireland’s.
Re-infection figures are available up to 15 March, with cases in Scotland continuing to race ahead of the other two nations in those additional four days.
The rate of reinfection rose as high as 157.4 per 100,000 people in Scotland in the week to 14 March, up 8.4% on the week to 11 March.
However, data for tests taken between 12 and 15 March is not yet considered complete, and numbers may rise as more results come back.
Across Scotland, Northern Ireland and England as a whole, 878,976 re-infections had been recorded as of 15 March.
Public Health Scotland was approached for comment.
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