Staunton, November 21 – The city of Moscow’s decision to shut down restaurants and bars on New Year’s night in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus is leading ever more Muscovites to plan to travel outside the city where such bans are not in place. As a result, a measure designed to limit the pandemic may spread it (kommersant.ru/doc/4582714).
On the one hand, already infected Muscovites may bring the disease to new places; and on the other such socialization may mean that they will contract it from infected people in the regions and bring it back to the capital, putting yet more pressure on the city and highlighting the consequences of not having a single policy for the entire country.
The pandemic numbers today were especially grim with the authorities reporting the registration of a new high in the number of infected (24,822) and the number of deaths (467) for Russia as a whole (versia.ru/v-rossii-vyyavili-24822-novyx-sluchaya-koronavirusa-i-zafiksirovali-467-smertej and https://novayagazeta.ru/news/2020/11/21/165885-v-rossii-za-poslednie-sutki-vyyavili-24822-novyh-sluchaya-covid-19-eto-maksimum-za-pandemiyu).
Moscow and St. Petersburg also set infection records as did many of the republics in the North Caucasus (rbc.ru/society/21/11/2020/5fb8c79a9a79471b05102639 and kavkazr.com/a/30961715.html). Medical experts predicted the numbers will continue to rise for at least another month (regnum.ru/news/3121428.html).
One 1300-person town in the north of Krasnoyarsk Kray, Chumikan, took the remarkable step of isolating itself from the rest of the country, banning any departures or entrances, in the hopes of getting the pandemic under control (kp.ru/daily/21712090.5/4325737/).
Russians did get some good news from the medical community: Experts said that those who recover from the coronavirus are unlikely to be reinfected unless they suffer from some underlying conditions (versia.ru/immunolog-oboznachil-uslovie-dlya-povtornogo-zarazheniya-koronaviursom).
On the economic front, the Bank of Russia said that the country’s decline in GDP was accelerating again after improving slightly in the third quarter and that this trend would likely continue until the pandemic is over (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/81840). Banks also reported that Russians withdrew 111 billion rubles (1.6 billion US dollars) from their accounts in October (echo.msk.ru/news/2745328-echo.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Vladimir Putin told the online G-20 summit that the pandemic was the functional equivalent of the great depression of the 1930s (regnum.ru/news/3121628.html).
· The KPRF has proposed creating a new legal class of Russians, those who are “forcibly unemployed” as a result of the pandemic (echo.msk.ru/news/2745410-echo.html).
· And historian Boris Yakemenko says that the wearing of masks has become among other things a reflection of the fetishizing of security, with masks now playing the role of crosses on crusader uniforms (realtribune.ru/news/people/5462).