Saturday, October 31, 2020

Russia Sets New Daily Records for Coronavirus Infections and Deaths

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 29 – The Russian authorities registered 17,717 new cases of infection and 366 deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, both records ( and

            In the face of this trend and an indication of its impact on attitudes more generally, the Levada Center released a poll showing Russians almost evenly divided between those who think their country is going in the wrong direction (43 percent) and those who believe it is going in the right one (

            The Kremlin acknowledged that the situation in the regions is in some places “critical” but denied that it plans to introduce “total restrictions” on the population or had “muzzled” doctors (, and

            But the regime’s relatively positive comments were undercut by the release of estimates by the Center for Monitoring Biological Risks of the Federal Medical Medical-Biological Agency that infections and deaths will remain high through 2021, with six million Russians likely to be infected and 52,000 to die (

            And Sberbank head German Gref issued an even more pessimistic outlet. He suggested that Russia and the world would never return to pre-COVID life, that masks would be a permanent requirement, and the economy and political systems would be fundamentally altered, perhaps beyond recognition (

            The pandemic continues to spread across the Russian Federation ( In Moscow, officials say that the overwhelming majority of the population wears masks (, but and the city government is considering more restrictions on visiting bars and restaurants ( Many fines for violations are being forgiven (

            Beyond the ring road, more restrictions are being imposed nearly everywhere ( More than 150 higher educational institutions have shifted to distance learning (, and ever more schools are doing so as well ( and

            Reuters reports but Moscow denies that Russia has stopped its testing of its first vaccine because it has run out of supplies (, and Russian officials suggest that reported infections among the test group may have been among those who received placebos (

            As to the future, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin says vaccination will begin in Moscow in November ( But medical experts say that 80 percent of those who do recover from coronavirus infections will need rehabilitation for some months (

            Shortages of all kinds of medications are spreading across Russia, the result of both limits on imports and difficulties in the distribution system within the country, creating problems for those sick with the coronavirus and those who are ill from other causes (

            On the economic front, RBC reports that 64 percent of young Russian families are now so financially stretched that they have enough money only for food and clothing (

            And the Bank of Russia reported that Russians had withdrawn a billion US dollars-worth of hard currency from Russian banks during September (


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