Staunton, Sept. 22 – The pandemic is not only spreading but intensifying across the country, according to Russian officials, with infections, hospitalizations and deaths all up. The number of regions experiencing growth has jumped from 11 last week to 36 this, and hospitalizations and deaths have gone up by double digit percentages in many places (regnum.ru/news/3377784.html, smotrim.ru/article/2616817, regnum.ru/news/3377785.html, regnum.ru/news/3377785.html, regnum.ru/news/3378018.html, regnum.ru/news/3378069.html, regnum.ru/news/3378235.html, regnum.ru/news/3378396.html, regnum.ru/news/3378457.html and regnum.ru/news/3378473.html).
On this first day after the elections, media reporting suggests that Moscow and St. Petersburg have been hit particularly hard, a striking development given the upbeat comments of only a week ago; and both there and in some regions, people are now talking about a fourth wave of the pandemic and even the possibility of new lockdowns.
Russian officials continued to report registering approximately the same figures, however, with the operational staff saying that it had recorded 19.706 new cases of infection and 817 new deaths over the last 24 hours as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country (t.me/COVID2019_official/3581 and regnum.ru/news/society/3369923.html).
A better indication of just how rapidly things are deteriorating is that ever more localities are shuttering schools and going over to distance learning and some are even talking about restricting any movement of those over 65 outside of their residences (regnum.ru/news/3377500.html, regnum.ru/news/3377994.html and regnum.ru/news/3377581.html).
Moscow did announced that it would be renewing air traffic with Denmark, Djibouti, Peru, South Africa and New Zealand on October 5, although it extended limitations on travel to Tanzaniya until November 1 (regnum.ru/news/3378531.html and regnum.ru/news/3378540.html).
But travel to and from Russia may be affected by a report today by Dutch researchers that a new strain of the coronavirus has appeared and is spreading in the Russian Federation, one that Russian officials have not yet been willing to acknowledge (biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.09.16.460616v1.full.pdf).
On the economic front, it has long been known that during the pandemic, Russia’s super rich have gotten richer while most people have gotten poorer. But a new FinExpertiza study finds that the number of well-off Russians, a larger category than the super rich, has declined by 39 percent since the start of the pandemic (finexpertiza.ru/press-service/researches/2021/chislo-bogatykh-semey/).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Medical experts say that the pandemic has shown what they had known to be true for some time: preventing illnesses is cheaper than curing them once they appear (business-gazeta.ru/article/522824).
· Commentator Kirill Shulika says a special place in hell should be reserved for those who have fought vaccination against the coronavirus (rosbalt.ru/posts/2021/09/22/1922540.html).
· Delays by the EU and WHO in approving the Russian vaccine have limited its sales abroad and also led more Russians to try to gain access to foreign vaccines, specialists say (svpressa.ru/society/article/310611/).