Staunton, November 16 – Russia has suffered up to 330,000 additional premature deaths over the past year, demographer Aleksey Raksha says. Of these, 80 percent or 264,000 are the result of the coronavirus pandemic, eight times more than the 33,000 the Russian government maintains (business-gazeta.ru/article/488438).
According to the available data he has examined, Raksha says, officials in Moscow are not reporting about 70 percent of these deaths, and those in the regions, “almost 80 percent.” What this means is that Russia, with less than half the population of the United States, has suffered slightly more pandemic deaths.
Russian officials for their part reported that there had been 22,778 new cases of infection registered over the last 24 hours and 305 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the totals of these respectively to 1,948,603 and 33,489 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1991).
Official statistics do show that those infected are being hospitalized at higher rates. 84 percent of all hospital beds allotted to coronavirus patients are now full, and in 53 of the federal subject, that figure is “almost 90 percent,” the health ministry says (regnum.ru/news/3116387.html and regnum.ru/news/3116399.html).
Russian medical specialists that more than half of those infected are outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, a dramatic shift from the situation last spring (newizv.ru/news/politics/16-11-2020/kovid-v-rossiyskoy-provintsii-ne-plach-ne-boysya-ne-prosi). Moreover, they say, two-thirds of the regions are now in a critical situation and need help (nakanune.ru/articles/116498/).
The regions are following Moscow in another respect as well. They are responding to the situation by increasing fines. According to new health ministry data, they are imposing from eight to 18 fines per 100,000 people for cororonavirus restriction violations (regnum.ru/news/3116483.html). They are also running out of morgue space (vesti.ru/article/2485981).
Also today, Buryatia facing explosive increases in infection and hospitalization and the closure of its border with Mongolia by Ulan Bator became the first Russian federal subject to reimpose a complete lockdown in hopes of reining in the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3116848.html).
In St. Petersburg, officials restricted to their residences people over 65 and with underlying conditions (regnum.ru/news/3115915.html), but they also reported that the number of tests for coronavirus has been falling, down more than 30 percent in a single day (regnum.ru/news/3116113.html).
A Higher School of Economics study reported that the North Caucasus Federal District was completely unprepared for distance learning. Many households don’t have Internet connectivity, and teachers haven’t received training on how to teach online (akcent.site/novosti/10920).
One development that highlights both the extent of the pandemic and official concern about those suffering from other illnesses came today when the health ministry put out guidance designed to limit the impact treating people with the virus will have on those who need treatment for other diseases (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=88490).
Russian epidemiologists acknowledged that tests of the Sputnik-5 vaccine remain incomplete, although officials have gone ahead and negotiated with the government in Kazakhstan to manufacture it (https://echo.msk.ru/news/2742870-echo.html and ura.news/news/1052458872).
Russian officials met to discuss what the economy will look like once the pandemic passes (regnum.ru/news/3116672.html). A new study found that almost half of Russian employers cut salaries when their workers shifted to distance work (regnum.ru/news/3116040.html). In many regions, falling incomes have forced authorities to issue ration cards for the poorest segments of the population (znak.com/2020-11-16/v_ryade_regionov_rossii_vveli_produktovye_kartochki_dlya_semey_s_detmi_i_postradavshih_ot_covid_19).
Another study found that while online spending has risen in Russia, those buying goods of first necessity are spending a third less online than they did a year ago, an indication of just how deep the economic crisis has hit (regnum.ru/news/3116025.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Officials closed Lenin’s mausoleum lest people waiting in line to visit it spread the disease (regnum.ru/news/3116497.html).
· Two new investigations found that jailors have made lives simpler for themselves and far more dangerous for prisoners over the course of the pandemic (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/11/16/87978-zakony-pali-zhertvoy-pandemii and zona.media/article/2020/11/16/fsin-19).
· And Vladimir Putin said that the falloff in international travel because of coronavirus restrictions had had at least one positive impact: it had reduced the amount of illegal drugs coming into Russia (rbc.ru/society/16/11/2020/5fb268989a7947745c86e218?from=from_main_12).
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