Russia’s daily death rate from COVID-19 has surpassed 1,000 for the first-ever time, as Russia faces an ongoing wave of increasing infections.
On Saturday, the national coronavirus taskforce reported 1,002 deaths, up from 999 Friday. There were also 33,208 COVID-19 confirmed cases. This is more than 1,000 more than the previous day.
Russian officials tried to accelerate vaccinations by offering lotteries, bonuses, and other incentives. However, widespread vaccine doubt and contradicting signals from officials have thwarted their efforts. This week, the government claimed that 43 million Russians are fully vaccinated, which is approximately 29% of Russia’s almost 146 million population.
Despite mounting economic damage, the Kremlin has decided to avoid a nationwide lockdown, similar to the one that was implemented early in the pandemic. This would have severely damaged the economy and eroded President Vladimir Putin’s popularity. Instead, the Kremlin has given regional authorities the power to enforce coronavirus restrictions.
Russia’s 85 regions restrict access to theatres, restaurants, and other venues. But, everyday life continues as usual in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and many other Russian cities.
Mikhail Murashko, Health Minister, acknowledged this week that medical facilities are under increasing strains. He said authorities have offered retired doctors who were vaccinated the opportunity to return to work.
The coronavirus taskforce has recorded more than 7,958,000 confirmed cases, and 222,315 death — the highest death rate in Europe. According to the official record, Russia is ranked fifth in pandemic deaths worldwide, after the United States, Brazil and India.
Rosstat, the state statistics agency, reports a higher death toll from pandemics. It also counts deaths where the virus was not the primary cause. As of August, there were approximately 418,000 COVID-19-positive people. This number would place Russia fourth in the list of nations most affected by the pandemic, behind Mexico.