Staunton, July 19 – Russians must continue to wear masks and practice social distancing or the country will face a new surge of coronavirus cases and deaths, Aleksandr Gintsburg, a leading Moscow epidemiologist, says; but even if they do everything right, there could be a new wave coming in from neighboring countries (vedomosti.ru/society/news/2020/07/19/834892-v-tsentre-gamalei-predupredili-o-riskah-rosta-zabolevaemosti).
The official figures for the country as a whole continue to drift downward. Today, the government reported that there were 6109 new cases of infection bringing the cumulative total to 771,546, and 95 more deaths, bringing that toll to 12,342. Some regions are improving but others unfortunately are deteriorating (t.me/COVID2019_official/1080).
Moreover, some key institutions such as the military appear to be suffering more than earlier given that the defense ministry is now releasing not new totals of infections but rather only figures concerning the number of uniformed personnel who have recovered (regnum.ru/news/3014052.html).
And today, yet another reason why officials are undercounting the number of coronavirus victims in Russia: Many officials don’t want to look bad to their superiors, but others are changing diagnoses so that they don’t have to pay medical personnel who are treating large numbers of coronavirus patients (idelreal.org/a/ufa-coronavirus-stats-lie/30735901.html).
Meanwhile, some places are reopening albeit with strict new rules while others are closing down because the epidemiological situation has deteriorated or not improved as much as health experts had hoped for (vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2020/07/19/834900-novie-pravila-dlya-kafe-i-restoranov).
And a major new problem has arisen: prices for numerous medicines are rising rapidly so that even those without the coronavirus are no longer able to pay for the drugs they need to get better. Some are blaming the rises on new requirements to mark the medications, but the real cause appears to be new damands on the health care system (ura.news/news/1052441439).
On a weekend news show, one economist said that official figures show that Russians will not see their standard of living return to what it was in 2013 until 2030. That means the average Russian will be living less well than he or she did before Crimea for 17 years (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/78334).
But what may disturb Russians even more is a statement by Andrey Bunich, head of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Rentiers of Russia. He says that there are oligarchs surrounding Vladimir Putin who do not want the economy to improve soon because they can function more easily when times are bad (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/78332).