Coronavirus in Russia: record of deaths, hospitals are filling up

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MOSCOW | Russia announced on Tuesday that it had recorded 244 deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours, a record since the start of the epidemic, adding that 90% of hospital beds reserved for patients affected by the coronavirus were now occupied, from made of a resurgence of the disease.

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The country also recorded for the third consecutive day more than 13,000 new daily cases, with 13,868 contaminations listed.

A total of 1.32 million cases have been detected since March and 22,966 deaths. The authorities continue to claim a lower mortality than in Western Europe, the United States or Brazil.

Some critics, however, consider the Russian death toll to be underestimated, with Russia only counting cases where COVID-19 disease is considered the leading cause of death.

The previous record of 232 deaths in 24 hours was recorded on May 29, in full containment.

In another worrying sign, a Russian deputy health minister said on Tuesday that beds planned for COVID patients were nearing saturation.

“Today, our beds are almost 90% occupied,” said Oleg Gridnev, during a conference, quoted by the Ria Novosti news agency.

In addition, compared to the first wave of the epidemic in the spring, the elderly and frail are this time more affected, according to an epidemiologist from the Russian health agency.

“Unfortunately, the data from this fall show that the contagion has aged and has moved mainly to people over 65,” said Tuesday Alexander Gorelov, also quoted by Ria Novosti.

In the spring, the seniors were ordered to confine themselves, which is not currently the case. In Moscow, the main epidemic center, only a recommendation to this effect is in force.

Despite the resurgence of the epidemic, the Russian authorities say they have the situation under control and want at all costs to avoid new strict containment measures, with devastating effects for an economy that was already sluggish before the pandemic.

Russia is also counting on the effectiveness of the world’s first vaccine against the coronavirus, called Sputnik-V, as the first space satellite manufactured by the Soviet Union.

It is currently being tested on 40,000 volunteers, but viewed with skepticism by many foreign experts, especially because Russian research has not been published and the product has been qualified as unconditional success after very limited tests on a few dozen people.

A large part of the Russian political elite has nevertheless said that they have been vaccinated, Vladimir Putin citing the example of one of his daughters. And the government hopes to deploy it massively in the country before the end of the year.

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