Staunton, Sept. 8 – As one would expect in the run-up to an election, most Russian officials are giving generally upbeat predictions about the pandemic, the lifting of restrictions, and economic recovery (regnum.ru/news/3364595.html, regnum.ru/news/3364563.html, kp.ru/daily/28327/4471520/ and regnum.ru/news/3364078.html).
But in a clear indication that Russians remain unimpressed and are anything but optimistic about the short and medium term, most of them have stopped buying tickets for travel on the winter holidays which are still three to four months in the future (svpressa.ru/travel/article/309173/).
Today, Russian officials reported registering 18,024 new cases of infection and 797 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours as the pandemic ebbed and flowed across the country and with deteriorations so severe in some places that officials are talking about shifting schools to distance learning (t.me/COVID2019_official/3527, regnum.ru/news/society/3361504.html and regnum.ru/news/society/3363468.html).
Health ministry officials report that more than 92 percent of those now hospitalized with the coronavirus infection are people who have not been vaccinated. They also say they are considering whether it may be possible to vaccinate people simultaneously for flu and the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3363975.html and regnum.ru/news/3363921.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Pro-Kremlin TV personality Dmitry Kiselyov has been hospitalized with a coronavirus infection. Doctors say he is only moderately ill (tass.ru/obschestvo/12324075).
· Academy of Sciences demographers say Russia’s population decline during the pandemic year was even greater than Russian officials have said and amounts to “more than 800,000 people” (ng.ru/nauka/2021-09-07/9_8245_demography.html).
· The World Health Organization says that the world will not be able to eliminate the coronavirus as a threat, something that will only add to popular pessimism (ura.news/news/1052503831).