Professor Jason Leitch spoke out as new lockdown restrictions begin from today

Older Scots 'more worried' by Covid-19 and less likely to reengage with society, says Jason Leitch

Scotland's national clinical director said there was growing evidence of a demographic split when it came to attitudes towards the virus.


Older Scots are more worried about the risks of catching Covid-19 and are more reluctant to reengage with society as a result, Scotland's top medical advisor has said.

Professor Jason Leitch was speaking as new restrictions take effect from today which limit social gatherings to a maximum of six people from two households.

The tightening of lockdown rules comes as coronavirus cases in Scotland hit a four-month high yesterday for the second day in a row - with more than 240 people testing positive.

Leitch - the Scottish Government's national clinical director - said that while cases were rising, the situation was different to April and May as the number of tests for the virus had substantially increased.

But he added it was becoming clear there was a growing demographic gap among those who are testing positive.

"They are in the main in a younger group," Leitch told BBC Good Morning Scotland.

"Some 60-70% are under 40. That wasn't true in April when we were having our peak numbers.

"What we think has happened is that all age groups have changed their behaviour.

"So the older age group has got more worried, and a little bit more scared, so they are a little bit slower to reengage with society.

"And the younger group, inevitably, are a little bit quicker to engage with hospitality or household gatherings. All of those things have ramped up a little bit as we have opened up the economy.

"The rest of the world is seeing exactly the same increases of cases among young people in the first few weeks of our resurgence."

He added: "In Spain, there is some sobering data that it can take four to six weeks for the virus to go from those younger people to the older age group, and that is something we must avoid at all costs."

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Scottish Care - which represents independent care homes - has warned the number of residents catching the virus is likely to grow in the coming weeks.

Dr Donald Macaskill told the BBC: "Unfortunately we have a likelihood that if we continue to see the transmission of the virus at the current rate, we will see an increase in case in care homes.

"We are in a very different position from where we were in March, but undeniably there is a close relationship between the number of cases in the community and the number of cases in care homes.

"England is further ahead, but we will get there unless we change our behaviour."

The most recent figures published last week found there were 78 care homes in Scotland where there has been an outbreak - but the majority of those involve staff who have tested positive and are now self-isolating at home."

Since the start of the pandemic, 22,679 people have been infected with Covid-19 in Scotland and 2,499 have died. The new cases represent 3.7 per cent of those tested for the virus on Saturday.