Russia Reports Record COVID Infections And Deaths

NBC News reports:

Russia is reporting its largest daily number of new coronavirus infections, more than 70 percent up on the number a month ago as the country faces a sustained rise in cases. The national coronavirus task force on Sunday said 34,303 new infections were recorded in the previous day, compared with the 20,174 reported Sept. 19.

The death toll of 999 was barely lower than the record 1,002 deaths reported on Saturday.

Russian authorities have tried to speed up the pace of vaccinations with lotteries, bonuses and other incentives, but widespread vaccine skepticism and conflicting signals from officials stymied the efforts. The government said this week that about 43 million Russians, or some 29 percent of the country’s nearly 146 million people, are fully vaccinated.

The Associated Press reports:

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko acknowledged this week that medical facilities have come under growing strains and said authorities have offered retired medics who have gotten vaccinated the option of returning to work.

Overall, the coronavirus task force has registered more than 7,958,000 confirmed cases and 222,315 deaths — Europe’s highest death toll. The official record ranks Russia as having the fifth-most pandemic deaths in the world following the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

However, state statistics agency Rosstat, which also counts deaths in which the virus wasn’t considered the main cause, has reported a much higher pandemic death toll — about 418,000 people with COVID-19 as of August.