Staunton, November 24 – Russia lacks enough pharmaceutical production capacity to produce enough of its Sputnik-5 vaccine to be able to ranks seventh in the world in terms of national producers, even though its price is low (20 US dollars a dose) and effective, Moscow experts say (regnum.ru/news/3123692.html and regnum.ru/news/3123686.html).
Moscow hopes to expand its productive capacity soon (regnum.ru/news/3123910.html). In the meantime, it will give priority to producing enough for Russian citizens even though they will get the vaccine free and thus not contribute to the profits of the company involved (regnum.ru/news/3123708.html and regnum.ru/news/3123851.html).
The daily toil continued to rise as even officials acknowledged that the pandemic is dangerous in many places and challenging the control of the authorities (regnum.ru/news/society/3122025.html). The registered numbers continued to go up, by 24,326 new infections and 491 new deaths (t.me/COVID2019_official/2042).
More independent analysts weighed in and suggested the only numbers that anyone should consider accurate are the excesses of premature deaths, figures that show the pandemic has hit Russia far harder than the daily registration numbers suggest (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/81938).
A leading Moscow epidemiologist said that it is far too early to speak of having passed the peak in the pandemic in the Russian Federation and that numbers may go up (regnum.ru/news/3123412.html).
Meanwhile, Igor Nikolayev, a Moscow economist, sharply criticized the Kremlin for engaging in all kinds of activities that have nothing to do with addressing the pandemic as a way of suggesting that all is well on that front when in fact it isn’t. The powers seem to think that as long as there isn’t a new lockdown, all is well (echo.msk.ru/blog/nikolaev_i/2746690-echo/).
The situation in many regions is desperate. More than a third don’t have the money on hand to pay for current levels of healthcare, 20 haven’t entered into agreement with the federal authorities to get more, and in some, there are no medical facilities available at all (regnum.ru/news/3123671.html and ura.news/news/1052459925).
Government officials continue to maintain that vaccination will be entirely voluntary and that Putin hasn’t been vaccinated yet because not all tests are done and he is the chief of state (regnum.ru/news/3123859.html and regnum.ru/news/3123573.html).
And a new VTsIOM poll finds that Russians overwhelmingly support wearing masks and maintaining social distance. It did not ask about reactions to a possible new lockdown (wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/pandemicheskie-riski-i-kak-s-nimi-borotsja).
On the economic front, almost 50 percent of all Russians have seen their incomes fall since the start of the pandemic, more consumer loans are in trouble, and the IMF has called on the Kremlin to increase support for the economy lest it spiral downward further (regnum.ru/news/3123901.html, regnum.ru/news/3123768.html and rbc.ru/economics/24/11/2020/5fbcb3439a7947eff9b72cf1).
Looking to the future, some economic analysts say they expect Russian consumers to continue to invest, purchase and pay on line but not to save more than they were (vtimes.io/2020/11/25/covid-no-money-a1441).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· The human rights ombudsman says that more Russians are using her hotline than ever before (regnum.ru/news/3123764.html).
· The pandemic is forcing officials to impose significant restrictions on the appearances of Father Frost and the Snow Maiden, key figures for Russian children at New Year’s (regnum.ru/news/3123420.html).
· More than 1.6 million Russians have recovered from the coronavirus but still need physical and psychological rehabilitation, experts say (regnum.ru/news/society/3124036.html).
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