Staunton, December 16 – Medical experts calculate that less than one-third of the 150,000 additional deaths in the first ten months of 2020 as compared to the same period a year earlier are from the coronavirus. They argue that underlying problems including alcoholism, poverty and an aging population are to blame (regnum.ru/news/3143055.html).
Some observers, however, say that some of the non-coronavirus deaths should be blamed on the pandemic either because the focus on the coronavirus meant they didn’t get treatment or because the methods the authorities have adopted to fight the pandemic in fact have killed many Russians (forum-msk.org/material/news/16878465.html).
The authorities reported registering 26,509 new cases of infection and 596 new deaths, as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across various parts of the Russian Federation (regnum.ru/news/society/3142642.html and t.me/COVID2019_official/2190). One piece of good news: in places the coefficient of spread dropped below one (regnum.ru/news/3143019.html).
The decision of the authorities to bring criminal charges against those responsible for the death of 14 pandemic victims in Kursk because of a shortage of oxygen at the regional hospital attracted widespread attention (kommersant.ru/doc/4616558).
The government announced that it was maintaining a registry of those inoculated. As of today, the list contained 28,500 names (regnum.ru/news/3142957.html). A new worry for the authorities is that reports about re-infections are reducing interest among some in getting the vaccine (mk.ru/social/2020/12/16/povtornye-zarazheniya-koronavirusom-postavili-pod-vopros-effekt-vakcin.html).
Moscow also announced that 17 Russian laboratories are in the process of developing 26 different vaccines for future use (ura.news/news/1052463486), and the government said it would include the coronavirus vaccine on the regular calendar of immunizations (ura.news/news/1052463468).
Russian outlets have picked up a World Bank projection that the number of poor in the world will decline because of government efforts to fight the pandemic but that these efforts will leave those who are poor now even poorer in the future (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/bednyh-stanet-menshe/).
Russian economists say there won’t be any recovery in Russia until the second quarter of next year at the earliest (regnum.ru/news/3143429.html), and Russian restauranteurs say they do not expect to recover to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2022 (kommersant.ru/doc/4616523).
Regional governments have concluded that their most important task is to promote economic recovery, with some desperately trying to find money for that and others, like Moscow, telling business that the greatest assistance they have given the economy is not to have imposed a new lockdown (profile.ru/economy/elmira-xajmurzina-podderzhka-malogo-biznesa-stanovitsya-osnovoj-razvitiya-territorij-466095/ and novayagazeta.ru/news/2020/12/16/166485-sobyanin-nazval-otsutstvie-lokdauna-glavnoy-meroy-podderzhki-biznesa-vo-vremya-pandemii).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin says that being ready to take serious actions is the best way to defend against the pandemic because it gets people to take more responsibility for their actions so as to avoid a new shutdown (echo.msk.ru/blog/covid2019_official/2758974-echo/).
· Contributions to Russian charitable organizations have dropped 20 to 30 percent this year during the pandemic (svpressa.ru/society/news/284742/).
· Russia’s funeral industry has adopted to the pandemic, offering online services, glass covered caskets, and even disinfection of the bodies of those who have died from the coronavirus (severreal.org/a/30987916.html).
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