Staunton, February 15 – Wearing masks has been effective not only in combatting the pandemic but in reducing the incidence of other diseases, Moscow doctor Maryana Lysenko says; and consequently, even after the coronavirus is overcome, Russians with weakened immune systems must continue to wear masks (kp.ru/daily/27239/4367850/).
That will be unwelcome news for many Russians, who like people in other countries, view masks as an unwelcome symbol of the pandemic and have looked forward to the day when they can dispense with them. But lower rates of infection and death from the flu this year underscore the more general value of masks.
Russian officials registered 14,207 new cases of infection and 394 deaths from the coronavirus, both far lower figures than in recent months, even though in some places infections and deaths remained more numerous than they have been (t.me/COVID2019_official/2482 and
One of the most closely watched statistics in Russia during the pandemic has been school closings, but now that sensitive figure is being hidden in a new way. Moscow officials are lumping together schools closed because of weather, a frequent occurrence, and those closed for the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3190947.html).
A new survey in the northern capital finds that eight percent of employees of government and private agencies regularly violate pandemic rules such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance (regnum.ru/news/3191473.html).
Moscow did report that a Russian laboratory has created the first test in the world for the British strain of the coronavirus (trtrussian.com/novosti-rossiya/v-rossii-sozdali-pervyj-v-mire-test-na-britanskij-shtamm-koronavirusa-4458450).
On the economic front, Rosneft reported that it was the only major company in Russia to make a profit during 2020 (regnum.ru/news/3191249.html). Some smaller firms, like medical laboratories, also saw their incomes rise because of testing and the delivery of the vaccine (regnum.ru/news/3191425.html).
But at the other end of the economy, among workers, an old problem is re-emerging: the amount of back wages companies owe to employees increased by 15 percent since January 1, according to Rosstat (newsru.com/finance/15feb2021/rosstat.html).
And economist Nikita Krichevsky sharply criticized the government for promoting the writing off of loans by companies. He said that such a strategy will only accelerate the processes of the liquidation of other companies to which such loans are owed (regnum.ru/news/3190889.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Internet traffic in the Sakha Republic increased by 70 percent during the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3191559.html).
· A Moscow coronavirus doctor who took part in a Navalny protest has been fired from his position as a result (newizv.ru/news/society/15-02-2021/sanitara-uvolili-iz-koronavirusnogo-gospitalya-posle-aktsii-s-fonarikami).
· Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has decried Moscow’s decision to send vaccines abroad to seek political influence rather than take care of the Russian people first (rubaltic.ru/article/politika-i-obshchestvo/20210215-sputnik-v-razrushaet-antirossiyskoe-edinstvo-pribaltiki/).
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