Staunton, Nov. 22 – COVID infections are rising in Russia just as they are in many countries, medical specialists say. Some Russian regions and institutions are reinstituting mask requirements. But Moscow has dropped funding for the updating of vaccines. Consequently, there is a real danger that when COVID hits hardest, Russia will be among the least defended.
So far, Olga Matveyev, a Russian biologist who works in the US, says, the number of cases is still far lower than it was at the start of the pandemic, the numbers now less then 10 percent of what they were then (novayagazeta.eu/articles/2023/11/22/volna-v-rossii-nachala-razgoniatsia-trudno-predstavit-chto-ona-vdrug-rezko-zatormozitsia).
However, she suggests, those figures understate the problem for two reasons. On the one hand, Russian numbers include only those who go to hospitals and get registered by the state. Many who may be suffering milder versions of the disease or who don’t trust doctors may thus not be counted.
And on the other, the virus behind COVID evolves into new strains; and thus, researchers must constantly come up with new vaccines as the old ones cease to work. Unfortunately, the Russian government has “other priorities,” first among them the war in Ukraine, and has stopped funding that effort.
As a result, when COVID spreads as it is almost certain to do so, Russia’ population will be at greater risk of a new epidemic than are the residents of other countries.