Staunton, February 27 – An online group, Watching COVID-2019, set up by five experts including Aleksey Raksha and now having 3400 members across the country, has found that official information about no aspect of the Russian response to the pandemic from the development of vaccines to the numbers of infections and deaths is transparent and reliable.
Instead, as Rimma Polyak of Vestnik Civitas summarizes their findings so far, all government-released data has been falsified or distorted to meet the needs of officials, a pattern that adds to fears about what the real situation is like including the safety of vaccines and makes any assessment based on official data problematic at best (vestnikcivitas.ru/pbls/4250).
The latest official figures are that over the last 24 hours, there were 11,534 new cases of infection and 439 new deaths, both continuing the downward trend in recent days, despite some continuing hotspots (t.me/COVID2019_official/2525 and regnum.ru/news/society/3195444.html). One result of the downward numbers is that 56 percent of Russians now tell the Levada Center that they don’t fear getting infected (echo.msk.ru/news/2797288-echo.html).
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin says he hopes to soon lift restrictions on the activities of elderly residents , and the Russian government says that teachers will be required to get the vaccine, despite suggestions that the process will be entirely voluntary (versia.ru/v-rf-za-sutki-vyyavili-11-534-novyx-sluchaya-zabolevaniya-covid-19-i-439-letalnyx-isxodov).
One continuing impact of the pandemic in Russia which affects many concerns plans for school graduation testing. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has now issued an order that will simplify the process because of the complications arising from the spread of the coronavirus up to now (government.ru/news/41619/).
As the pandemic wanes, Russians are focusing increasingly on its economic consequences, especially as inflation has now risen to a five-year high (ehorussia.com/new/node/22881), and surveys suggest that almost ten percent of small and mid-sized Russian firms are on the brink of shutting down operations (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/83996).
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