Staunton, December 31 – Like most countries, Russia has focused on developing vaccines to prevent those who have not been infected from contracting the coronavirus or getting such a severe form; but it has also been working on antidotes and today, Veronika Skvortsova of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency said Russian scientists have come up with two breakthrough drugs (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/v-rossii-obyavili-o-sozdanii-pervogo-v-mire-antidota-ot-koronavirusa-1029924804).
She did not provide details for the media, but presumably these two new medicines will be used to treat those already infected and will cure them. If that testing proves these to be safe and effective, that will be a major addition to the toolbox doctors are already using to treat and often cure those infected during the pandemic.
Today, Russian officials reported registering 27,747 new cases of infection and 593 new deaths (t.me/COVID2019_official/2291).Dmitry Rogozin reported that “more than 10,000” of those employed in his Roskosmos branch have come down with the coronavirus infection. He provided no details on deaths (regnum.ru/news/3155794.html).
The pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country with most places heading into the New Year’s holiday with restrictions (regnum.ru/news/society/3154313.html). St. Petersburg, which is suffering from a spike, said the burden on the healthcare system was unprecedented and compared the pandemic to a war (regnum.ru/news/3155769.html).
On the vaccine front, former chief specialist at the health ministry Irina Shestakova said that Russia must vaccinate about 50 percent of the population if it is to overcome the pandemic, a percentage far higher than the share of Russians willing to get the vaccine according to all polls (regnum.ru/news/3155534.html).
Instead of seeking to change that by playing up the value of the vaccine and the wrongheadedness of the anti-vaxers, the Russian media have been attacking liberals for supposedly undermining the government’s efforts by raising questions about Sputnik-5 and the country’s medical facilities (mbk-news.appspot.com/sences/felgengauer-o-liberalah-i-sputnike/).
On the economic front, HIS Market reported that business activity in Russia had declined slightly in December after major falls earlier (markiteconomics.com/Public/Home/PressRelease/ba5f95859d1a4f498185e01107870119).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Ever more Russians are concluding that plans to have a coronavirus passport in the coming year is part of a larger plan to have “a total digital dictatorship” (svpressa.ru/society/article/286131/).
· Moscow has bragged about how many countries are purchasing its vaccine but has not emphasized that most are third and even fourth world countries where the Putin government has been meddling and that few advanced countries have shown any interest (newssky.com.ua/sputnik-v-kak-kreml-stavit-opyty-nad-grazhdanami-drugih-stran-eksklyuziv/).
· Aleksandr Myasnikov, chief doctor at Moscow’s Clinical Hospital No. 71, says that the pandemic has taught Russians and others some important lessons including that “nothing is firm or permanent in this world” and that individuals must be ready to take responsibility for what happens to them because “no one is going to make us happy” except ourselves (regnum.ru/news/3155769.html).