Staunton, May 26 – Vladimir Putin says Russia has passed the peak of the coronavirus pandemic (capost.media/news/obshchestvo/russia-has-passed-the-peak-of-coronavirus/), and Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu says that there will be a vaccine in a month (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/shoygu-poobeshchal-putinu-vakcinu-ot-koronavirusa-cherez-dva-mesyaca-1029233177).
But both these statements are problematic at best. On the one hand, the number of infections and deaths continues to go up, even as analysts demonstrate that the official numbers dramatically understate the actual number of victims and say a second peak is ahead (ura.news/news/1052433468, newizv.ru/article/general/26-05-2020/lukavye-devyatki-analitik-pokazal-kak-falsifitsiruyutsya-dannye-o-pandemii, newsru.com/blog/26may2020/covid_stat.html and snob.ru/health/novosti-covid-19-voz-predupredila-o-vozmozhnosti-vtorogo-pika-pandemii-v-merii-moskvy-rasskazali-kogda-otkroyutsya-letnie-verandy/
And on the other, a Russian firm that has come up with what it hopes will be an effective test announced that it would begin human testing in June, not the production of a vaccine for everyone until afterwards (sobkorr.org/news/5ECCAC80A06F8.html). But fewer Russians say they are willing to get it (thinktanks.by/publication/2020/05/26/v-rossii-sokraschaetsya-chislo-teh-kto-gotov-sdelat-privivku-ot-koronavirusa.html).
Putin’s incautiously optimistic words led more officials to begin the reopening of businesses even in places like the North Caucasus where the pandemic is still obviously very much present. Some commentators have responded by blaming the people there for the spread of the illness (capost.media/news/obshchestvo/in-the-north-caucasus-federal-district-regional-leaders-have-begun-to-lift-restrictions-imposed-beca/ and doshdu.com/margarita-simonjan-obvinila-zhitelej-dagestana-v-tjazheloj-situacii-po-koronavirusnoj-jepidemii/).
And today, Russia officially passed what its media call “an anti-record.” The health ministry confirmed that more than 100 doctors and nurses have died from the pandemic, apparently from the lack of protective gear that is prompting some doctors to refuse to treat coronavirus victims (newsru.com/russia/26may2020/rumedmortalrates.htmland idelreal.org/a/30635005.html).
Meanwhile, in other coronavirus news from Russia:
· The pandemic has spread to a major military facility in Yekaterinburg forcing the city to delay plans to reopen (ura.news/news/1052433431).
· A new poll shows that Russians are increasingly acceptant of tele-medicine (wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=10302).
· After police removed checkpoints to restrict people from coming into their village in the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous District, residents lay down in the road to block traffic (sibreal.org/a/30634740.html).
· Russian hospitals are refusing to perform abortions while the pandemic is going on (svoboda.org/a/30630592.html).
· Imports are down 40 percent since the start of the pandemic in Russia (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/76645).
· In most countries, the pandemic is projected to reduce the release of greenhouse gases; but in Russia, the government is loosening restrictions on companies and these harmful emissions are likely to go up (rusmonitor.com/vozduh-v-putinskoj-rossii-rekordno-zagryaznilsya-vyrosla-prestupnost-vo-vsem-mire-naoborot.html).
· Ramzan Kadyrov released a photograph showing that he is on the mend (meduza.io/news/2020/05/26/kadyrov-vylozhil-foto-s-soveschaniya-v-groznom-posle-novostey-o-ego-gospitalizatsii-s-covid-19).
· Travel agencies advised Russians visiting beaches to maintain social distance (russian.rt.com/russia/news/749357-socialnaya-distanciya-plyazh).