Staunton, September 15 – Moscow authorities are copying one of the tactics of some other governments and blaming the recent upsurge in the number of coronavirus cases on an increase in testing, despite the fact that deaths have gone up as well, a trend independent of any testing level (regnum.ru/news/3063677.html.and regnum.ru/news/3063739.html).
But Moscow officials are trumpeting the fact that according to a new international survey, Russia ranks 106th among the countries of the world in terms of lethal outcomes of the infection (regnum.ru/news/3063612.html), a figure that prompted Vladimir Putin to say Russia is dealing “effectively” with the virus (regnum.ru/news/3064187.html).
But even the government’s own figures show that the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, to 5529 in the last 24 hours, as well as the number of deaths compared to recent weeks, to 150. These increases bring the respective totals to 1,073,849 and 18,785 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1501).
Some elite groups are being hit particularly hard. Duma officials announced that “about 50 deputies” have now developed antibodies for the virus, an indication that they have been infected (regnum.ru/news/3064081.html).
In an effort to promote vaccinations, medical experts and officials are warning that Russia will not be able to avoid as many as ten more waves of the pandemic if large numbers do not get the shots (regnum.ru/news/3064296.html and ura.news/news/1052449875). Those who have already report in some cases minor side effects (regnum.ru/news/3063626.html).
Calls for stripping medical workers of bonuses if they don’t get vaccinated continue but are generating significant pushback from doctors and officials who say such a move would be both illegal and unconstitutional (regnum.ru/news/3063967.html and echo.msk.ru/blog/otkrytka_pravo/2709619-echo/).
Other medical experts say that it may be six months until test results are available that would allow massive vaccination among those over 70 but that vaccines for animals will likely be available next month (regnum.ru/news/3064018.html and regnum.ru/news/3064098.html).
News reports show that the pandemic continues to ebb and flow across Russia with more places experiencing upsurges and some, like the city of Yekaterinburg, being forced to shut down many public facilities once again. The report from there is interesting because it says officials acted on statistics not released to the public (regnum.ru/news/society/3057754.html and ura.news/news/1052449784).
That pattern prompted Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin to observe that in other countries the governments fight with their populations about reopening while in Russia the officials act on their own and rumors, often wildly inflated, spread through the population in response (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2020/09/15/1863584.html).
New financial data show just how great a burden the pandemic has placed on regional governments. According to a Moscow credit agency, the regions have spent roughly twice as much on health care this year as last (https://regnum.ru/news/3063228.html).
Moscow analysts have pointed to what they call “an anomaly” in the behavior of the ruble during the coronavirus crisis. In most countries, the pandemic drove down the value of the national currencies and its easy led to their rise. But in Russia, exactly the opposite has taken place (vtimes.io/news/koronakrizis-privel-k-anomaliyam-v-povedenii-rublya
· Sergey Mironov, leader of Just Russia, is calling for the government to stop using schools as voting places in order to prevent the spread of the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3063905.html).
· Complaints about poor medical service have surged in St. Petersburg and presumably elsewhere during the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3063929.html).