Staunton, May 10 – Vladimir Putin is still strictly self-isolating even though he has received both of his shots of the vaccine and been found to have good levels of anti-bodies, but at the same time, he is celebrating that 21.5 million Russians have been vaccinated and urged that all others do the same as soon as possible (t.me/wwwproektmedia/541,ng.ru/news/709021.html, regnum.ru/news/3264954.htmlregnum.ru/news/3264934.html).
But because of continuing skepticism and now Putin’s own mixed messages, the number of Russians seeking vaccination is declining, and, at current rates, it will take 594 days for half of Russians to get their shots (https://www.rosbalt.ru/blogs/2021/05/10/1900760.html and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=6099055A150A4).
Today, Russian officials reported that they registered 8465 new cases of infection and 321 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, with the figures in major cities plateauing far above acceptable levels (t.me/COVID2019_official/2918, regnum.ru/news/society/3258922.html and regnum.ru/news/3264821.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Aleksey Raksha, now an independent demographer, provides a devastating portrait of Moscow’s statistical errors about the pandemic, concludes that life expectancy declines are the most accurate measure of the pandemic, and says one of the reasons Petersburg’s figures are so high is that it is almost the only place in Russia providing accurate numbers (severreal.org/a/31242536.html).
· Other analysts say that the longer the restrictions and especially any quarantines are extended, the more depressed the birthrate will be, exactly the opposite of what many were predicting a year ago (fondsk.ru/news/2021/05/10/chem-dolshe-karantin-tem-menshe-rozhdaemost-53538.html).
· And while vaccine tourism hasn’t taken off as Moscow expected, the Russian government was pleased to provide the shots to a former East German spy in a very public manner (graniru.org/Politics/World/Europe/m.281715.html).