Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Today Russia had Second Highest Day of Infections Ever, Sparking Both Fears and Reassurances

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 5 – Today, the Russian government registered 10,888 new cases of infection, the second highest on record. (The highest, only a few hundred higher, was on May 12). That brings the cumulative total of infections to 1,225,889. There were also recorded 117 new deaths, upping that total to 21, 475 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1651).

            Today’s figures, twice as high as those of only a month ago, have sparked widespread fears that the government will impose restrictions at least as strict as those it did last spring (vedomosti.ru/society/articles/2020/10/04/842042-merii-moskvi  and denies by officials from Vladimir Putin on down that they plan to do so (regnum.ru/news/3081946.html, regnum.ru/news/3081830.html, regnum.ru/news/3082118.html and regnum.ru/news/3081776.html).           

School closures spread, although officials said the reported three percent closure they reported yesterday was a mistake. The real number supposedly is 0.3 percent not 3 percent (regnum.ru/news/3081470.html, regnum.ru/news/society/3077734.html and  regnum.ru/news/3081756.html).

            Other officials said there are no plans at present to cancel flights or shut the borders (regnum.ru/news/3081633.html), but reflecting rising infections, Moscow reopened two more coronavirus hospitals (regnum.ru/news/3081617.html).

            The Russian government said that mass vaccinations will begin at the end of this month or the beginning of November (ehorussia.com/new/node/21832), but a survey of 20,000 Russians by United Russia found that 73 percent aren’t prepared to get vaccinated and only seven percent think it should be mandatory (svpressa.ru/society/article/277758/).

            Andrey Dmitriyevl, editor of APN North-West, tells Svobodnaya pressa these figures reflect the fact that “citizens of Russia feel deep distrust to initiatives coming from the authorities.” They have their reasons. The most recent: the institute that developed the Russian virus has refused to share data with Western scientists (themoscowtimes.com/2020/10/05/russia-ignores-requests-share-controversial-coronavirus-vaccine-data-a71650).

            On the economic front, Accounting Chamber head Aleksey Kudrin says that fears of a second round are already depressing the economy as firms cut back production (znak.com/2020-10-05/kudrin_zayavil_chto_rf_ne_smogla_uyti_ot_vtoroy_volny_covid_19_nado_menyat_prognozy). Russians continue to shift to online purchases (regnum.ru/news/economy/3081972.html).

            And the labor ministry warned that firms do not have the right to require workers provide certificates that they have been tested for the coronavirus and found negative (regnum.ru/news/3081815.html).

            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         Because Muscovites wear masks so frequently, they and other Russians refer to the residents of the capital not as Moskvichi but as Maskvichy (ng.ru/moscow/2020-10-05/2_7981_msk05102020.html).

·         For the longest period since 1991, no new hotels opened in Moscow during the first eight months of 2020 (newsru.com/realty/05oct2020/mos_hotel.html).

·         Moscow city officials warn that they will not be shy in imposing fines on those who do not obey restrictions in the future (znak.com/2020-10-05/opershtab_moskvy_prigrozil_gorozhanam_shtrafami_za_narushenie_rezhima_samoizolyacii).

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