Russia Reports Another Daily Record for Covid-19 Deaths as Vaccination Rates Remain Low

Russia Reports Another Daily Record for Covid-19 Deaths as Vaccination Rates Remain Low
People have lunch on Nikolskaya Street amid the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic in Moscow on October 28, 2021. (Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP, Getty Images)

Russia reported another daily record for deaths from covid-19 on Wednesday, with 1,189 people succumbing to the disease, according to a new report from the Moscow Times. The country also saw 40,443 new covid-19 cases over the 24-hour reporting period, just shy of the daily record seen a few days ago when 40,993 new cases were reported on October 31.

The capital city of Moscow is currently in a partial lockdown through November 7 for a 10-day effort to stop the spread of the virus. Restaurants, schools, and most retail shops are currently closed, with museums and theatres allowed to operate at 50% capacity, according to the city’s website.

“Pharmacies, grocery stores, essential goods stores, delivery of goods and food from public catering institutions, restaurants in hotels (only for guests), canteens at enterprises, and open-air zoos continue to work,” the official website for the city of Moscow says.

Face masks are also mandatory in Moscow when visiting stores, on public transportation, and anywhere else where it’s difficult to socially distance. Moscow retailers are required to make sure at least 80% of their staff are vaccinated by January 1, 2022, which could be a tall order.

Russia has struggled with sluggish vaccination rates, with just 33% of the country fully vaccinated against covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University, allowing the coronavirus to spread quickly throughout the community. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently expressed frustration at vaccine hesitancy in the country, noting that many of the people who refuse to get vaccinated aren’t necessarily stupid people.

“These are intelligent people with a good education. I can’t understand what’s going on,” Putin said, according to an English-language translation by NPR. “We have a reliable and efficient vaccine. I want to emphasise again, there are only two choices: get sick or get vaccinated.”

Russia has recorded over 8.5 million covid-19 cases and 240,871 deaths since the pandemic began, though the real number is likely much higher. As the Moscow Times notes, the excess fatality rate in Russia since the start of the pandemic is sitting at roughly 723,000 deaths.

Covid-19 cases in the U.S. spent the past couple of weeks on the decline, but recent days have seen a kind of plateau. The U.S. reported over 76,000 new covid-19 cases on Tuesday and 1,509 new deaths. Just 58% of Americans are fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates among wealthy countries.