New study of Coronavirus cases and deaths has found that countries with tougher government Covid stringency measures had a higher number of Covid cases and deaths per head of population than those with less stringent measures, even after controlling for age and relevant health differences.

The number of reported Covid-19 cases and deaths per head were driven by how developed a country is in terms of its health, standard of living and outcomes, the proportion of the population in older age groups and the proportion of females who smoke, with government stringency of Covid response as the fourth predictor.

Additionally, the number of deaths per reported cases (eliminating reporting differences) was overwhelmingly driven by population size and density, with large, sparsely scattered populations experiencing worse outcomes.

The statistical analysis was of a wider submission by Purdie Pascoe and the Stats People telling the story of Covid which won the Analyst Team of the Year category (sponsored by OPEN Health) in the BHBIA Best of Business Intelligence (BOBI) Awards, which tracked Britain’s performance compared with the rest of the world. The analysis was based on a 46-week period between April 2020 and February 2021 across 169 markets.

A team spokesperson said “When we consider the key drivers of cases or deaths per million, it is easy to see why the UK rates are so high. The UK is a developed country, with a high median age and a high percentage of women who smoke. The UK government has also imposed strict anti-COVID-19 measures, and these characteristics are all key drivers of high case and death rate”