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A new report, published today by Public Health Scotland (PHS), has analysed the changes to the severity of COVID-19 as it has evolved throughout the pandemic and has highlighted the need for ongoing resourcing and investment in our data gathering and surveillance systems to similarly adapt.

The report shows that our understanding of the effect the virus is having on deaths and severe disease has changed. This has implications for the type of robust data required to inform future COVID-19 policy and decision making in Scotland.

Dr Nick Phin, Director of Public Health Science at PHS, said:

“As the pandemic has progressed, COVID-19 has evolved and the dominant strains circulating around our communities have changed. In a similar way, our surveillance and data systems also need to continue to adapt and evolve.

“With every new variant, there are unique characteristics that we need to understand so that appropriate recommendations can be made and measures can be put in place to protect lives from the potential risks of the disease.

“The analysis within this report shows that since the start of the year, the dominant strains of COVID-19 in Scotland began to have less of an impact on our hospitals in relation to admissions and deaths. However, it has highlighted the need to re-evaluate and invest in the most appropriate measures by which we gather information on the virus.

“It is hoped that the recommendations included in the report will help inform future approaches to COVID-19 reporting and surveillance so that our data continues to be ever more robust”.

For more information, read the ‘Changes to the severity of COVID-19 and impact on hospitals in Scotland, January – April 2022’ report.

Last updated: 10 October 2022