Staunton, January 11 – Many Russians believed that the masks they have been required to wear because of the pandemic are a dark cloud with at least one silver lining. The masks block the Russian siloviki from identifying those who wear them. But in fact, the police have developed methods to identify even those who wear masks.
According to one commentator, masks and facial recognition are part of “the new reality” that the pandemic has created, a plague that has consequences much like “Stalinist camps” (newizv.ru/news/tech/11-01-2021/sanitarnye-maski-bolshe-ne-zaschischayut-ot-videokamer and newizv.ru/article/general/11-01-2021/kovid-vs-gulag-stoit-li-smiryatsya-pered-pandemiey-priznav-chto-eto-navsegda).
Today, Russian officials reported that they have registered 23,315 new cases of infection and 436 new deaths in the last 24 hours (t.me/COVID2019_official/2327), as the pandemic continues to ebb and flow and experts say they consider the current “stabilization” to be entirely temporary (regnum.ru/news/society/3154313.html and kommersant.ru/doc/4639674
Despite some Moscow announcements, schools in many places will continue to operate on an online distance learning system. In Sakha, for example, only 30 percent of the schools are reopening with face-to-face instruction (regnum.ru/news/3159074.html).
On the vaccine front, the health ministry says that it is ramping up production of both vaccines and has already inoculated 1.5 million Russians. In Moscow, private clinics are now giving the shots, but there and elsewhere some are finding problems in getting them (regnum.ru/news/3159567.html and ng.ru/health/2021-01-11/8_8053_vaccine.html
Moscow has opened 30 more vaccination centers and broadened the list of professions whose members can get the shots now in an effort to continue to boost the number of Russians there getting the vaccine (regnum.ru/news/3159832.html, regnum.ru/news/3159861.htmlecho.msk.ru/news/2772154-echo.html and vtimes.io/2021/01/11/chastnie-kliniki-nachali-vaktsinirovat-moskvichei-ot-kovida-sputnikom-v-a2438).
Russian medical experts said that the British strain of the virus was now in Russia but that the Sputnik-5 vaccine can deal with it (regnum.ru/news/3159151.html). They also said they were beginning testing of the Sputnik Lite vaccine and announced that Palestine has registered the Russian vaccine for use (regnum.ru/news/3159604.html and regnum.ru/news/3159921.html).
On the economic front, the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs says Russia’s economy has “adapted” to the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3159370.html), but the World Bank has lowered its projection of Russian growth for the next decade (vtimes.io/2021/01/11/tsena-vaktsinnogo-natsionalizma-a2428).