Russia sets another daily COVID-19 deaths record

Russia sets another daily COVID-19 deaths record
Crows sit on grave crosses in the section of a cemetery reserved for coronavirus victims in Kolpino, outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Russia hit another record of daily coronavirus deaths Tuesday as the country struggled with a rapid surge of infections and lagging vaccination rates, but authorities have been adamant that there would be no new national lockdown. Credit: AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky

Russia on Wednesday reported another record of daily coronavirus deaths amid a slow vaccination rate and authorities' reluctance to tighten restrictions.

The government coronavirus task force reported 984 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, the pandemic's new high. The country has repeatedly marked record daily tolls over the past few weeks as infections soared to near all-time highs, with 28,717 confirmed new cases reported Wednesday.

The Kremlin has attributed the mounting contagion and deaths to a laggard vaccination rate. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Tuesday that about 43 million Russians, or about 29% of the country's nearly 146 million people, were fully vaccinated.

President Vladimir Putin has emphasized the need to speed up the vaccination rate, but he also has cautioned against forcing people to get the shots by applying administrative pressure. Experts have attributed the slow pace of vaccination to widespread vaccine skepticism and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

The Kremlin has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown like the one during the first months of the pandemic that badly crippled the economy and dented Putin's ratings, delegating the power to enforce coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.

Russia sets another daily COVID-19 deaths record
Medical workers carry a patient suspected of having coronavirus on a stretcher at a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Russia hit another record of daily coronavirus deaths Tuesday as the country struggled with a rapid surge of infections and lagging vaccination rates, but authorities have been adamant that there would be no new national lockdown. Credit: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Some Russian regions have restricted attendance at large public events and limited access to theaters, restaurants and other places to people who have been vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or tested negative in the previous 72 hours.

But life remains largely normal in Moscow, St. Petersburg and many other Russian cities, with businesses operating as usual and mask mandates loosely enforced. In Moscow, the authorities expanded free coronavirus tests in , hoping it would help stem contagion.

The soaring infections have increased the pressure on Russia's health care system, with hospitals filling up quickly. Speaking at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said 11% of Russia's 235,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients are in serious or .

  • Russia sets another daily COVID-19 deaths record
    Medical workers carry a patient suspected of having coronavirus on a stretcher at a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Russia hit another record of daily coronavirus deaths Tuesday as the country struggled with a rapid surge of infections and lagging vaccination rates, but authorities have been adamant that there would be no new national lockdown. Credit: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
  • Russia sets another daily COVID-19 deaths record
    A medical worker helps a patient suspected of having coronavirus to leave an ambulance at a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Russia hit another record of daily coronavirus deaths Tuesday as the country struggled with a rapid surge of infections and lagging vaccination rates, but authorities have been adamant that there would be no new national lockdown. Credit: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
  • Russia sets another daily COVID-19 deaths record
    Ambulances stand in line to deliver patients suspected of having coronavirus to a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Russia hit another record of daily coronavirus deaths Tuesday as the country struggled with a rapid surge of infections and lagging vaccination rates, but authorities have been adamant that there would be no new national lockdown. Credit: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
  • Russia sets another daily COVID-19 deaths record
    Medical workers stand near their ambulance as they deliver a patient suspected of having coronavirus to a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Russia hit another record of daily coronavirus deaths Tuesday as the country struggled with a rapid surge of infections and lagging vaccination rates, but authorities have been adamant that there would be no new national lockdown. Credit: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Overall, Russia's coronavirus task force has registered more than 7.8 million confirmed cases and 219,329 deaths—the highest death toll in Europe. The state statistics agency Rosstat, which also counts deaths where the virus wasn't considered the main cause, has reported a much higher toll of pandemic deaths—about 418,000 deaths of people with COVID-19.

If that higher number is used, Russia would be the fourth hardest-hit nation in the world during the pandemic, after the United States, Brazil and India. Even the lower mortality figure only shifts Russia down to fifth place, after Mexico.


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Russia hits new record for COVID-19 deaths, resists lockdown

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