Staunton, September 26 – Moscow is once again becoming the epicenter of the pandemic in Russia, with new infections there today double what they were only a week ago and three times that on September 1 (meduza.io/feature/2020/09/26/vtoraya-volna-koronavirusa-uzhe-v-moskve-hot-i-ne-hochetsya-eto-priznavat-otvechaem-na-vse-glavnye-voprosy-ob-etom).
And despite repeated official claims that there is no second wave, many don’t believe that, especially when medical experts say that there is a high probability that the situation in the Russian capital and the country as a whole will be worse in October than it is today (ura.news/news/1052451441).
Having told people over 65 to again self-isolate, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has restarted the video monitoring system to ensure that they do (lenta.ru/news/2020/09/26/podderzh/, newizv.ru/news/society/26-09-2020/ushedshim-na-samoizolyatsiyu-moskvicham-predostavyat-sotsrabotnikov and regnum.ru/news/3074421.html).
Some observers see this as the first step toward a general self-isolation regime especially as officials say that hospitals may not be able to cope with a massive influx of new patients and that the pandemic will last at least another year in Russia (ura.news/news/1052451444 and actualcomment.ru/koronavirus-v-rossii-zaderzhitsya-kak-minimum-eshche-na-god-2009251742.html).
The threat of a new self-isolation machine is being invoked by some experts as a reason that Russians should follow the rules of wearing masks and maintaining social distance now in order to avoid that outcome (znak.com/2020-09-25/kak_regiony_rossii_gotovyatsya_ko_vtoroy_volne_koronavirusa_kotoroy_yakoby_ne_suchestvuet).
That may explain the explosive growth in demand for masks. In Moscow and Moscow oblast yesterday, demand for this first line of defense went over 300 percent from the day before (regnum.ru/news/3074448.html). Muscovites don’t want a new lockdown and may not obey it (kommersant.ru/doc/4509044 and rbc.ru/photoreport/26/09/2020/5f6dfb5e9a79478ce34c3b52
Moscow announced that it had made arrangements to ship Avifavir to 17 additional countries; it had earlier agreed to ship it to six (prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/rdif-and-chemrar-to-supply-avifavir-to-17-countries-884826336.html). But Russians are complaining about price gouging by pharmaceutical companies for coronavirus medicines (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/80354).
On the economic front, a new survey found that 58 percent of Russians had had their wages and salaries cut during the pandemic with four-fifths of these saying they continue to be paid less than they did before the pandemic. A lucky three percent say their salaries have gone up during the pandemic (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/80318
krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/80320). Experts at the Trade and Industrial Chamber sharply criticized the government’s handling of the economy (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/80286). And the ruble fell sharply against the dollar and the euro (themoscowtimes.com/2020/09/25/russian-ruble-tumbles-on-second-wave-fears-a71558).
And economic specialist say that if a second wave of the pandemic does hit, Russia will be driven back to where it was in the 1990s, with the economy in a shambles and no clear way out in the short term (mk.ru/economics/2020/09/26/rossii-predrekli-vozvrashhenie-v-90e-posle-vtoroy-volny-koronavirusa.html).
Meanwhile in other pandemic-related developments from Russia today,
· Theater operators say that a second wave will kill their industry (regnum.ru/news/3074283.html).
· St. Petersburg officials ordered a wall of honor for doctors who treated the pandemic to be torn down, a day before protests about the government’s failure to pay doctors promised bonuses are scheduled (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/09/26/87250-zabor-ne-luchshee-mesto).
· The coronavirus continues to hit athletes hard. The latest victims are hockey players and Grand Prix drivers (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/09/26/87252-kubok-gagarina-vyigraet-covid-19 and themoscowtimes.com/2020/09/26/f1-reports-biggest-coronavirus-spike-this-year-ahead-of-russian-grand-prix-a71561).