Staunton, July 16 – The pandemic continues to intensify in Russia – today officials said that infections had increased by more than 25 percent in 14 regions of the country in the last week alone (https://regnum.ru/news/3324162.html) – because low rates of vaccination as a result of anti-vaxxer sentiment has made Russia into a giant breeding ground for new strains of the virus, a Kazan medical expert says (business-gazeta.ru/article/516008).
The Kremlin for its part has begun to criticize the Russian people for this turn of events. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that resistance to vaccinations shows that with regard to the pandemic, “our common discipline leaves much to be desired” (regnum.ru/news/3324015.html). As per usual, he did not hold the Russian government responsible.
Today, for the fourth day in a row, Russian officials registered a new record in the number of deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours. They also reported 25,704 new cases of infection, also close to record levels. Moscow and St. Petersburg continued to dominate both categories (t.me/COVID2019_official/3304).
Officials also reported that 865,000 Russians were receiving medical attention for the coronavirus and 191,000 were currently hospitalized as the pandemic intensified in most federal subjects (regnum.ru/news/3324077.html, regnum.ru/news/3324090.html, regnum.ru/news/society/3322005.html and regnum.ru/news/society/3324376.html).
Resistance to vaccinations and restrictions continues to grow. And in one case, it has forced the authorities to back down. Moscow city officials announced that they were ending the controversial system of QR codes for access to restaurants and cafes (regnum.ru/news/3324039.html and rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=89571).
On the vaccine report, Moscow city officials said that they had vaccinated more than two million people in the past months, nearly half of the total so far (regnum.ru/news/3324070.html). The Russian government said it was now vaccinating from 500,000 to one million Russians every day (https://regnum.ru/news/3324110.html).
And Vladimir Putin promised there would be no more shortages when he announced that he has concluded contracts for the production of 800 million doses of the vaccine before the end of 2021 (eurasia.expert/putin-rossiya-zaklyuchila-kontrakty-na-vypusk-800-millionov-doz-sputnika-v-v-god/). He also indicated Russia under certain conditions will import vaccines produced abroad (znak.com/2021-07-16/kreml_rossiya_gotova_k_priznaniyu_inostrannyh_vakcin_ot_covid_no_est_uslovie).
A major reason why vaccination rates are going up is that employers are demanding their workers get the shots even if the government has not made them mandatory (dailystorm.ru/obschestvo/kompanii-trebuyut-ot-kandidatov-na-rabotu-sertifikat-vakcinacii-ot-covid-19-dazhe-v-teh-regionah-gde-obyazatelnoy-vakcinacii-eshche-net).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· One Russian doctor in five has not been vaccinated and the health ministry has reported that hundreds of thousands of Russians have been infected even after vaccination, two things that will keep vaccination rates down (https://www.trtrussian.com/novosti-rossiya/kazhdyj-pyatyj-rossijskij-vrach-ne-sovetuet-privivatsya-ot-covid-19-6063777 and https://www.nakanune.ru/articles/117279/).
· The Moscow media are trumpeting the fact that mass vaccination contributed to the Soviet victory in World War II (vz.ru/society/2021/7/16/1109156.html).
· Muslims in Daghestan are ignoring covid restrictions in order to attend mosques, but shamans in Irkutsk are invoking the power of nature to defend Russia against covid (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/366073/ and nazaccent.ru/content/36174-shamany-proveli-v-derevenskoj-kuznice-pod.html).
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