Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Russian Government Registers Its Five Millionth Coronavirus Infection

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 23 – While many observers say that this milestone was passed long ago in fact, today, the Russian authorities registered 8951 new cases of infection bringing the total for the pandemic to 5,001,505. They also reported 357 new deaths from the disease bringing that total to 118,462 (t.me/COVID2019_official/2969).

            Reports on the epidemiological situation in the regions are scarcer this Sunday as on all previous ones, but it is clear that the pandemic continues to ebb and flow across the country, hitting the two capitals harder than many other places but forcing regional governments to impose tighter controls (regnum.ru/news/society/3267667.html).

On the vaccine front, the Vektor Scientific Center said that it has now received samples of the Indian strain of the virus and will begin conducting research on how best to counter it both inside Russia and elsewhere (regnum.ru/news/3276594.html).

Debate continues on Dmitry Medvedev’s call for making the vaccine obligatory given the slowing of vaccination in Russia and fears that the country will not reach herd immunity anytime soon. The Regions news agency as it typically does on controversial issues surveyed members of the Duma and Federation Council on their views (regions.ru/news/2629780/).

Sergey Katanosov, an LDPR deputy, says he is opposed to making coronavirus vaccinations obligatory. Such a requirement would be justified, according to him, only if the coronavirus were much more lethal. But in fact, that rate is “not much higher than is the case with ordinary flu.”

Oleg Nilov, a Just Russia deputy, says that obligatory vaccination is an extreme measure that would be needed only if Russia faced a military threat and particularly one of biological warfare. That happily is not the case, he continues, and therefore there is no reason for doing what Medvedev proposes.

Nikolay Arefyev, a KPRF deputy, says that Medvedev’s proposal is all about making money for the government which produces the vaccine rather than protecting the health and well-being of the population and therefore should be rejected out of hand. That is all the more so because the Russian vaccines have not yet completed all required clinical tests.

Bair Zhamsuyev, a senator from the Transbaikal, says that he agrees with Medvedev in human terms but that he can’t support his proposal because the Russian constitution gives every Russian the right to make choices of this kind. Overriding that right is simply wrong even if doing so comes as a result of good intentions.

And Anatoly Lyskov, a former senator from Lipetsk, says he is unalterably opposed to Medvedev’s ideas because people should have the right to make a choice. What officials should be talking about is how best to convince people to get the shots rather than simply giving orders that they must do so.

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