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/
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/