Staunton, July 29 – Despite international reporting that Russia now has a vaccine ready for use, Vladimir Putin told a teleconference on the epidemiological situation there that Russian teams had made real progress but that more testing is needed to ensure that any vaccine used on the population will be both safe and effective (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2683965-echo/).
The Kremlin leader said that the Russian healthcare system has been performing admirably, but his spokesman Dmitry Peskov had to defend the fact that Moscow officials have continued to shift senior healthcare managers from one part of the country to another as entirely normal rather than disruptive (regnum.ru/news/3023031.html).
Some Russian commentators were even more dismissive of the Western reports. Konstantin Yemeshin, a medical specialist, said that talk about the vaccine is intended to “calm public opinion” now even though “it is no secret that the development of any vaccine requires years” (https://regnum.ru/news/3022837.html).
The two Russian corporate teams were divided on messaging, with one predicting a vaccine in two weeks (versia.ru/vakcina-ot-koronavirusa-mozhet-postupit-v-grazhdanskij-oborot-15-avgusta) while the other said it was unlikely before the end of this year or early next (regnum.ru/news/3023021.html, regnum.ru/news/3022987.html and regnum.ru/news/3022979.html).
Putin’s words suggest that the latter assessment likely is the more realistic; but Russians and others will certainly continue to push for an earlier launch especially as experts are now saying that immunity among those who have been infected lasts only a few months and not longer as many had hoped (regnum.ru/news/3023119.html).
Russian officials reported 5 475 new cases of infection in the last 24 hours, bringing the pandemic total to 828,990, and 169 new deaths, upping that toll to 13,673 (zona.media/chronicle/krnjl). The media also reported senior officials are increasingly among the victims (regnum.ru/news/3022601.html and regnum.ru/news/3022561.html).
The situation in Moscow continue to improve but elsewhere there have been spikes in the numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, forcing officials to restore some earlier restrictions that had been dropped. Elsewhere, officials have continued to loosen these (regnum.ru/news/3022719.html and ura.news/articles/1036280739).
Economic news was limited but mixed. On the one hand, banks reported that “almost 90 percent” of the loans they have extended since the pandemic began are in trouble and may have to be written off (rbc.ru/finances/29/07/2020/5f2027a69a7947ccfe00dd77?from=column_32). But on the other, the Duma approved a third tranche of aid for families with children under 16 (capost.media/news/obshchestvo/the-state-duma-approved-a-repetition-of-the-payment-in-10-thousand-roubles-in-august/).
Also today, some Russian analysts suggested that the pandemic and the impact it has had on the raw materials export model of the Russian economy may force Russia to change and that such changes will benefit the country and its people in the future (mk.ru/economics/2020/07/29/koronavirus-stal-dvigatelem-progressa.html).