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Coronavirus in Russia: a record number of deaths in 24 hours

Disturbing signs are increasing in Russia. The country announced on Tuesday that it had recorded 244 deaths from Covid-19 in 24 hours, a record since the start of the epidemic. In addition, due to the resurgence of the disease, 90% of hospital beds reserved for patients affected by the coronavirus are now occupied.

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

A total of 1.32 million cases have been detected since March and 22,966 deaths.

Threat of saturation in the hospital

The authorities continue to claim a lower mortality than in Western Europe, the United States or Brazil. Some critics, however, consider the number of Russian deaths to be underestimated, with the country only counting cases where Covid-19 disease is considered the main 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 Minister of Health said on Tuesday that the beds planned for Covid patients were close to saturation. “Today, our beds are almost 90% occupied,” said Oleg Gridnev at 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.

A vaccine tested on 40,000 volunteers

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 claim to control the situation 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 after the first space satellite made by the USSR). It is currently tested on 40,000 volunteers but viewed with skepticism by many foreign experts. Russian research has in fact not been published and the product has been qualified as unconditional success after very limited tests in reality on a few dozen people.

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

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