Russia sets a new record for daily deaths from coronavirus

Dr. Georgy Arbolishvili does not need to hear or see government statistics to understand that Russia is in a very alarming phase of the coronavirus epidemic.

Russia sets a new record for daily deaths from coronavirus

Dr. Georgy Arbolishvili does not need to hear or see government statistics to understand that Russia is in a very alarming phase of the coronavirus epidemic.

19 October 2021 Tuesday 15:52
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Russia sets a new record for daily deaths from coronavirus

He just looks at his full-to-capacity intensive-care unit at Moscow Hospital No. 52

Only about a third (or 146 million) of Russia's population have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The country has seen close to 1,000 deaths per day over the past weeks, and it surpassed that number on Saturday. This situation Arbolishvili calls "disaster."

He told The Associated Press that the majority of ICU patients who are in serious condition are not vaccinated. These diseases could have been avoided if people had been vaccinated.

The country's death rate is now at 225,325 after Tuesday's record 1015 deaths. This is the highest number in Europe, although most experts believe that it is an underestimate.

Arbolishvili stated that these statistics are "directly linked to vaccinations." "Countries with high vaccination rates don't have such high mortality rates."

Despite the availability of vaccines, Russians seem to be hesitant and skeptical about getting vaccinated. This is due to contradicting messages from authorities since last year's pandemic.

Even though ICUs have been full for the past few weeks, Moscow's life has not changed. There are still many people in Moscow, and there are plenty of people in restaurants and movie theatres. People also frequent nightclubs and karaoke bars. And commuters continue to ignore mask mandates on public transport.

This makes Dr. Natavan Ibragimova, a medical professional, tremble.

Hospital No. 52 said, "I think of sleepless nights when there are a large number of patients who didn’t bother to use banal protection means," 52.

Ibragimova said that patients who have had the vaccine don't usually experience any serious side effects, while those who haven't are likely to have problems later on.

She said, "Patients who have survived a serious illness say to us that they were discharged saying, 'Doctor! You were right, and I will tell everybody that it is necessary to get the vaccine.'

The Kremlin has so far ruled out a nationwide lockdown similar to that imposed in the early days of the pandemic, which caused a severe economic blow and drained President Vladimir Putin's popularity. The rising infections have put pressure on the health system, prompting Cabinet officials to recommend that all public sector employees take a week off.

Tatyana Golikova (Deputy Prime Minister), who is the head of the coronavirus taskforce, suggested Tuesday that such an inactivity period begin Oct. 30, and continue through the week following. Four days are already state holidays. The Cabinet will request Putin to approve the move which would allow many service-sector businesses to remain open.

The authorities have also put pressure on teachers, doctors, and other public servants to get vaccinated. However, the pace has remained slow. Putin has stressed the importance of vaccinations and insisted that they should be voluntary.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, admitted that although the government has done all it can to make vaccines available easily, it could have been more proactive in encouraging it.

Peskov stated to reporters that "Obviously, more could have been done" to explain the absence of an alternative to vaccination.

In shopping centers, authorities have established vaccination stations. These sites allow shots to be offered without the need for advance bookings or lines. To get vaccinated they have also used lotteries, bonuses, and other incentives, but not much success.

Russia is the only country "where you can easily get the shot while passing through," Dr. Irina Belozova, a pulmonary specialist at Hospital No. 52 "A vaccine gives you a clear chance of survival. It's a mystery to me why people don’t have that chance.

Russia proudly named the shot Sputnik V after its space pioneering program in August 2020.

Sputnik V, three other domestic vaccines, were extolled by state media. However, the Western-made shots were criticized by the state-controlled media, which many saw as a way to increase public doubts about vaccines.

Peskov was asked if it would be beneficial to allow foreign vaccines to be imported. He said that the skepticism doesn't just apply domestic shots. The use of Sputnik V has been denied by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Union (EU). Peskov stressed that all sides should resolve the matter on equal terms.

While the Kremlin refused to place a national lockdown on the country, it gave the power to regional authorities in the country to determine restrictions based on their specific circumstances.

Russia's 85 regions have already restricted access to theatres, restaurants, and other venues and prevented large-scale public events from taking place. Certain public servants, as well as people over 60 years of age, have been required to get vaccinated.

Golikova encouraged the regions to use digital codes to quickly access public areas.

Monday saw the second-largest city, St. Petersburg, order digital codes to show proof of vaccination or recovery from an infection to gain access to conferences and sporting events that began Nov. 1. These codes will be required in movies, theatres, museums, and gyms starting Nov. 15. They will also be required in restaurants, cafes, and some stores starting Dec. 1.

According to the city's second highest number of new infections, it is behind Moscow. Authorities have so far resisted tightening restrictions despite mounting cases. Moscow tightened mask regulations on public transport this week.

Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow Mayor, stated Tuesday that anyone over 60 who is not vaccinated will have to stay at home. Businesses were also urged to ensure that at least one third of their employees work remotely during the three-month period beginning Oct. 25,

Michael Head, senior research fellow in global healthcare at the University of Southampton in Britain, stated that Russia's almost daily record-breaking virus number is not surprising given the absence of restrictions and highly contagious Delta variant.

He said, "We've seen that the delta variant can spread in communities if it mixes with vulnerable people." Experts from the WHO and other organizations estimate that it might take more than 80% to immunise a population.

The task force of the government has detected more than 8,000,000 infections. Russia is ranked fifth in the world for most COVID-19 death after the United States, Brazil and India.

Rosstat, the state statistics agency, reports a higher death toll of 418,000 in August. Russia would be fourth worst-hit country based on this number.

Martin McKee, professor of European public and tropical health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said that the situation was very worrying for Russia and the rest of world.

He said that even high vaccination rates elsewhere in Europe would not prevent the virus being reimported into Europe, especially if new, worrisome variants are discovered.

He stated that until we have complete control over the virus, there is a risk of the virus being imported and the pandemic won't be under control.



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