Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Moscow, St. Petersburg Again Centers of Russians' Pandemic Concerns

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 4 – When the pandemic began, Russians focused their attention on Moscow and St. Petersburg, but then, as the situations in the capitals began to improve, they began paying more attention on the regions where the situation had become far worse. Now, public attention is again focusing on the two most important cities of the country.

            In both cities, the numbers are down from what they were earlier but either have plateaued or even increased by some measures despite massive efforts to fight the pandemic in both. In Moscow, behind the upbeat claims of officials is a sad reality: infections are increasing again as people let down their guard (forum-msk.org/material/news/17095936.html).

            And in St. Petersburg, where the central government has dispatched massive amounts of vaccine to fight that hotspot, the numbers are jumping around in a disturbing fashion, falling one day only to go up the next (regnum.ru/news/3233684.html and regnum.ru/news/3233637.html). There, only 5.5 percent of the residents are fully vaccinated (regnum.ru/news/3233686.html).

            For Russia as a whole, officials report that there were 8817 new cases of infection and 357 new deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours. Both figures reflect a general but slow decline from earlier peaks (t.me/COVID2019_official/2720). But in some places, there has been no decline at all (regnum.ru/news/society/3226201.html).

            Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that the number of Russians who now want to get vaccinated has “risen sharply” (regnum.ru/news/3233667.html), and the Gamaley Center says that Sputnik-Lite, the one dose version of the Russian vaccine, gives 50 to 60 percent immunity (regnum.ru/news/3233670.html).

And there was good news on the economic front as well: the expected wave of bankruptcies after the moratorium on them was lifted has not occurred (vedomosti.ru/economics/articles/2021/04/04/864535-vala-bankrotstv).

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