Coronavirus deaths in Russia hit yet another record
Russia’s daily coronavirus death toll hit a new record on Friday amid the country’s sluggish vaccination rate and the government’s reluctance to tighten restrictions.
Russia already has Europe’s highest death toll in the pandemic — more than 214,000 — and the authorities’ conservative way of recording COVID-19 fatalities suggests the actual number could be even higher.
On Friday, the government’s task force reported 27,246 new confirmed cases, just slightly less than Thursday’s number of 27,550, which was the highest so far this year.
A steep rise in infections and deaths began in late September, with authorities blaming it on the low vaccination rate. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said Friday that 47.8 million Russians, or almost 33% of Russia’s nearly 146 million people had received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine, and 42.4 million, or about 29%, were fully vaccinated.
The Kremlin has shrugged off the idea of imposing a new nationwide lockdown, delegating the power to tighten restrictions to regional authorities.
In some areas of the country, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, life remains largely normal, with businesses operating as usual and mask mandates loosely enforced.
Russia’s daily COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 900 for the first time in the pandemic as the government balks at restrictions to control infections.
Some regions have limited attendance at large public events and restricted access to theaters, restaurants and other places to people who have been vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or tested negative in the previous 72 hours. Critics argue, however, that these measures aren’t enough to stem the surge.
In some areas, Russia’s massive yet severely underfunded healthcare system has started to show signs of being overwhelmed by the outbreak.
Overall, Russia’s coronavirus task force has registered over 7.7 million confirmed cases and 214,485 deaths. However, reports by Russia’s state statistical service Rosstat that tally coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively reveal significantly higher mortality numbers.
Rosstat on Friday revealed the latest coronavirus mortality data that showed more than 254,000 deaths of people with COVID-19 in the first eight months of this year compared with more than 163,000 deaths of patients who had the coronavirus for the whole of 2020.
Russia’s daily coronavirus infections have soared to their highest level this year as authorities struggle to control a surge in new cases.
Unlike the coronavirus task force that only counts deaths of patients in which the coronavirus was considered the main cause, Rosstat also tallies those who had COVID-19 but died of other causes, and those for whom the coronavirus was suspected but not confirmed.
The agency said that the overall number of deaths in Russia from January until August topped 1.5 million, rising by 18.5% over year.
Russia’s population shrunk by more than 351,000 in the first seven months of the year and stood at about 145.8 million as of Aug. 1, according to Rosstat.
Start your day right
Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.