Moscow to Enter Lockdown Next Week as Covid-19 Cases Skyrocket

Moscow to Enter Lockdown Next Week as Covid-19 Cases Skyrocket
A serviceman of Russia's Emergencies Ministry wearing protective gear disinfects Moscow's Belorussky railway station on October 20, 2021. (Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP, Getty Images)

Russia’s capital city of Moscow will enter a 10-day lockdown starting next week as new cases of covid-19 and deaths from the disease reach new daily highs. The lockdown, which won’t start until Thursday, Oct. 28, comes as Russian hospitals struggle with a horrific surge of largely unvaccinated patients.

Russia reported 35,416 new cases of covid-19 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University, another daily record since the pandemic began in early 2020. The country also recorded 1,011 new deaths, close to the all-time daily record for the country.

“In the coming days, we will reach historic peaks in Covid cases,” Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin wrote in in a blog post, according to a translation by CNN. “During this period, the work of all enterprises and organisations on the territory of the city of Moscow should be suspended.”

Russia has suffered from low vaccination rates, with just 32.9% of the country’s population fully vaccinated. As the Associated Press notes in an article from this week, the vast majority of people being treated in the ICU with covid-19 are those who are unvaccinated, consistent with what public health experts are seeing all over the world.

From the Associated Press:

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted that while the government has done everything to make vaccinations easily available, it should have been more proactive in encouraging them.

“Obviously, more should have been done to explain the lack of alternative to vaccination,” Peskov told reporters.

Authorities have set up vaccination sites in shopping malls and other facilities at clinics where shots are offered without any advance booking. They also have used lotteries, bonuses and other incentives to encourage people to get vaccinated, without much success.

Despite a decline in the number of covid-19 cases in the U.S. over the past two weeks, the pandemic is still very much a thing for Americans as well. The U.S. reported 81,987 new cases of the disease on Thursday, and 1,873 new deaths.

The U.S. has a vaccination rate of just 57.6%, well below other wealthy countries, according to Johns Hopkins University. Compare that with countries like Canada (73.3%), Spain (78.4%), France (67.5%) and the UK (67.6%).

Even China, the country where covid-19 originated, has a much higher vaccination rate than the U.S. with 74.9% of the population fully vaccinated, and is still pursuing a policy of covid-zero. China’s National Health Commission reported just 28 new locally acquired cases of covid-19 on Friday. And while many New Cold Warriors in the West may be naturally sceptical of China’s covid-19 claims, there’s one thing China has been doing that may actually be keeping the country’s infections down: Mass testing.

No other country in the world is doing mass testing of entire cities when cases pop up. And it doesn’t look like anyone else is going to start anytime soon.