Staunton, July 22 – The Russian health ministry has dropped anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, long touted by US President Donald Trump, from its list of medications recommended for use in the treatment of those infected with the coronavirus, the latest national government to do so (kp.ru/daily/27159/4257792/).
Again today, the number of new cases the Russian government reported was under 6,000 with only 5862 new infections, bringing the total for the pandemic to 789,190. The number of new deaths was 165, bringing that toll to 12,475 (zona.media/chronicle/krnjl). Many say the government is underreporting both.
Also today, debates broke out about immunity, vaccines and prospects for the disease in Russia. A Vladimir Oblast doctor reported the first case in Russia in which an individual who recovered from the coronavirus was re-infected (lenta.ru/news/2020/07/22/povtorno/). Moscow medical officials insisted that such things are very rare (regnum.ru/news/3017273.html).
Russian experts also disagreed on the vaccine. Some maintained it will be absolutely safe and necessary while others argued that Russians are already close to herd immunity and won’t need the vaccine except as a backup to the use of masks and social isolating measures (ura.news/news/1052441932 and ria.ru/20200721/1574623235.html).
And Russian officials and doctors also disagreed as to whether the pandemic would end later this year or continue into next or even longer (sovsekretno.ru/news/massovyy-vypusk-vaktsiny-ot-covid-19-nachnetsya-ne-ranshe-chem-cherez-polgoda/ and versia.ru/yepidemiolog-zayavil-chto-pandemiya-koronavirusa-prodlitsya-do-novogo-goda).
Levels of infection continued to fall in many places but spiked in others provoking a variegated pattern of openings and closings. Officials agreed on only two things: relaxed behavior in the summertime is sparking the spikes and the Russian people not the regime are to blame for continued high infection rates (politsovet.ru/67189-vo-vsem-vinovat-narod-novaya-koncepciya-borby-s-koronavirusom.html and regnum.ru/news/3017256.html).
There was little new economic news today, but one report was intriguing: because of the quarantine, Russians borrowed only about half as much during the second quarter of this year as they did a year earlier even though many of them who had had jobs in 2019 did not have incomes in 2020 (vestikavkaza.ru/news/rossiane-perestali-brat-kredity.html).
That trend needs to be factored in to reports that Russians are borrowing more to maintain their standard of living. Russians did have a more positive outlook in May than in April, a VTsIOM poll found, but it also showed that only one Russian in five is optimistic about his personal wellbeing a year from now (wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=10377).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Officials issued a final report on the number of Muscovites fined for violating the quarantine: some 94,000 citations were issued (regnum.ru/news/3016800.html).
· The government of Tatarstan warned that celebrations of Kurban Bayram could turn into superspreader events (business-gazeta.ru/article/475580).
- · And Sergey, the unfrocked priest who has stirred controversy will calls to oust Putin and Kirill is now calling for a worldwide march on August 1 against the coronavirus plague and Satan (ahilla.ru/shimonah-sergij-romanov-prizval-vse-narody-mira-vyjti-pervogo-avgusta-na-aktsiyu-protesta-protiv-kovida-i-satany/).