Staunton, October 27 – With a sentiment that will inevitably be compared with US President Donald Trump’s claims of having defeated the coronavirus pandemic but on a day when Russia introduced a universal mask requirement, Vladimir Putin said no other country had done more than Russia to combat the coronavirus (https://regnum.ru/news/3100618.html). Russian commentators are already pointing out that this claim is at a minimum overstated (echo.msk.ru/blog/v_inozemcev/2731952-echo/). The universal mask regime is already sparking anger and prompting officials to say it can be lifted once the vaccine appears (regnum.ru/news/3100145.html and regnum.ru/news/society/3100207.html).
Further, Russian officials are celebrating the quality and effectiveness of Russia’s medical system (regnum.ru/news/3100247.html and regnum.ru/news/3100049.html), but ever more horror stories are coming in showing this isn’t true (themoscowtimes.com/2020/10/27/were-in-hell-russias-second-wave-of-covid-19-is-catching-the-regions-off-guard-a71851).
And in yet another gap between official rhetoric and reality, Putin said he wanted to keep cultural institutions function (regnum.ru/news/3100568.html), even as more such institutions are being forced to close or go over to virtual operation (ng.ru/culture/2020-10-27/7_8000_27102020.html).
The government reported it registered 16,550 new cases of infection, down slightly from the day before, and 320 new deaths, slightly up (regnum.ru/news/3100015.html and regnum.ru/news/3100008.html). But even Duma deputies are now saying they think the real numbers are much higher (https://regnum.ru/news/3099921.html).
The pandemic continues to spread, and schools are shifting to virtual instruction and even closing altogether, despite Moscow claims this isn’t happening (regnum.ru/news/society/3096640.html). In a not atypical case, eight schools have been closed, and in 63 others, one or more classes have been sent home (regnum.ru/news/3099784.html).
In fact, distance learning has become so common, again pace the Russian government, that Just Russia Duma deputies have submitted draft legislation to ensure that students will get equal credit for distance learning to that which they would get if they could stay in classrooms (regnum.ru/news/3100425.html).
Epidemiologists are warning that in some regions, the situation could deteriorate significantly in the coming days (regnum.ru/news/3099771.html), and specialists on regional politics have released a major study detailing the difficulties many regions are facing because of the pandemic (nacexpert.ru/ne-i-crrp-podgotovili-doklad-vyzovy-regionalnyx-sistem-zdravooxraneniya-perioda-kovidnyx-voln/).
Consumer affairs head Anna Popova continued to push the government line that a vaccine once it comes on line will be the best defense against the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/society/3100184.html). She says herd immunity will kick in only when no fewer than 60 percent of Russians have been recovered from infections or been vaccinated (regnum.ru/news/3100681.html).
But she also says that the vaccine won’t protect against light forms of the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3100680.html). Some Russian lawyers are challenging the mask regime, and many Russians are already violating it (versia.ru/bolee-50-narushitelej-masochnogo-rezhima-vyyavili-v-tc-na-yugo-vostoke-moskvy and regnum.ru/news/3100475.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has been exposed to someone ill with the coronavirus and has gone into self-isolation (regnum.ru/news/3100586.html).
· Putin’s spiritual advisor has published a book of prayers for Russians to use during the pandemic (znak.com/2020-10-27/soratnik_duhovnika_putina_vypustil_knigu_molitv_protiv_koronavirusa).
· Doctors and their supporters say that healthcare workers treating coronavirus victims should receive pay and benefits equivalent to those extended to Russian military personnel and the Russian Guard (https://www.nakanune.ru/articles/116419/).
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