OMSK, Russia, October 9, 2021: Cemetery workers in protective gear bury people who died of COVID-19-related causes at Novo-Yuzhnoye Cemetery. Yevgeny Sovichuk/TASS (Photo by Yevgeny Sovichuk/TASS via Getty Images)
Yevgeny Sovichuk | TASS | Getty Images
Russia set a grim new record in the Covid-19 epidemic, as the number of daily deaths from the virus reached a new record for the second day in a row.
On Wednesday, Russia reported 28,717 new cases of Covid-19 and 984 deaths from the virus, the second day in a row that the country recorded a record number of daily deaths.
Data from the government’s coronavirus task force showed, on Tuesday, that the country had reported 28,190 new cases of coronavirus and 973 deaths. In total, Russia has recorded more than 7.8 million cases of the virus and more than 219 thousand deaths.
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko issued sharp warnings about Russia’s public health crisis on Tuesday, telling a cabinet meeting that COVID-19 cases in Russia had increased by 16% over the past week and in some regions, the growth rate had been more than 30%. .
Russia has about 255,000 beds for Covid patients, of which 235,000 are occupied, and 11 percent of Russia’s Covid patients are in serious or critical condition, “and practically all of them are patients who have not been vaccinated,” Murashko said. According to TASS news agency.
Russia is aggressively seeking to increase vaccination rates in the country, but many members of the public have been reluctant to take a Covid vaccine, especially the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine, often despite offering incentives including money, shopping coupons and gift cards, and easy access to facilities such as health centers. Mobile immunization.
However, the Kremlin has so far resisted making Covid vaccination mandatory for the general public despite there being a wide range of workers in several regions, and in many sectors such as retail, healthcare and education, who must have a Covid vaccine now or risk losing their jobs.
Read more: Putin says Russia won’t make Covid vaccines mandatory, but skepticism remains a problem
However, vaccination numbers remain low as about 31% of Russia’s population of 144 million has been fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.
Frustration with the slow acceptance of Covid vaccines has been palpable in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has made numerous attempts to glorify the vaccine’s benefits to a conservative public.
Those efforts continued on Tuesday, with Putin reportedly telling a meeting of deputies to the State Duma (parliament) that they needed to work harder to increase Russia’s vaccination rates.
“We need to work diligently and patiently with people, explaining to them all the advantages associated with the prevention of this dangerous disease,” TASS reported.
However, there are no indications that Russia is ready to implement a nationwide lockdown with lockdown authority granted to Russian regions where restrictions vary widely.
Doubt about the vaccine
Russia was one of the first countries in the world to approve a Covid vaccine, in August 2020, putting up the shots. So had it not been for public reluctance, Russia could have vaccinated far more people by now.
The reluctance is seen as stemming from concerns about the safety and efficacy credentials of Sputnik V, especially since Russia authorized the trial before clinical trials were completed in a move that has raised doubts in the international scientific community.
However, the Sputnik V vaccine was found to be 91.6% effective in preventing people from contracting Covid, according to peer-reviewed results from its latest phase clinical trial published in The Lancet in February.
People walk in Red Square on a sunny autumn day in Moscow on October 9, 2021.
Diletar Delkov | AFP | Getty Images
Despite this, a survey by Russia’s Levada Polling Center, published in March, found that 62% of people did not want to get vaccinated, with the highest level of frequency among 18-24 year olds.
The latest data from Levada, published in early September, shows that skepticism about a vaccine remains high but has decreased over the summer, with 52% of Russians surveyed not wanting a Russian vaccine. In a survey of 1,619 people conducted in August, 14% said they were ready to be vaccinated, while nearly a third said they had already been vaccinated.
More than half of the Russians surveyed (55%) said they did not fear infection with the coronavirus either, indicators that have not changed much since the beginning of 2021 despite recent warnings about the spread of the more virulent delta variant.
Read more: Fully vaccinated people are still infected with the Covid virus. Experts explain why
Murashko warned, on Tuesday, that young people no longer warn of Covid, and told the cabinet meeting, “We have seen patients up to 30 years old in intensive care with serious complications.”
“Today’s young age is not insurance against the disease and its complications,” the TASS news agency quoted him as saying.
There is no love lost between Russia and its neighbor Ukraine, given the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine, but both countries share the difficulties of overcoming the Covid crisis.
Ukraine has recorded a near-record number of deaths in the past 24 hours, reporting 471 coronavirus-related deaths and very close to the record daily number of 481, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.
– CNBC’s Hadley Gamble gave a panel with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the CEOs of BP, Total Energy, ExxonMobil and Daimler at Russia Energy Week. Watch the live broadcast at 1pm Moscow time / 11am London time on Wednesday 13 October.