Tatiana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia has revealed that more than 80% of deaths in the country this year are linked to Covid-19, that is, around 186,000 fatalities. This death toll is three times higher than what was previously reported, with official figures saying that 55,827 people had lost their battles to the virus, according to Russia’s Rosstat statistics agency. These statistics bring Russia third on the list of the world’s highest number of fatalities due to coronavirus.
International comparisons around the globe become difficult since countries use different methods when reporting deaths due to the virus.
While President Vladimir Putin boasted about Russia's low fatality from the virus and even claimed earlier this month that the country is dealing with the pandemic better than western countries, Russian experts reveal that the government has been playing down the country’s outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic.
These experts had argued that the majority of deaths were caused by respiratory infections. However, health officials now admit that over 186,000 deaths were caused by Covid-19 alone, putting an end to speculations about the comparatively low numbers of casualties, which were only reported when coronavirus was found to be the main cause of death.
Rosstat’s new figures mean that Russia now has the world’s third-highest death toll from COVID-19 after the United States, where 334,618 people have died, and Brazil, with deaths of 191,570, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
About the vaccine situation in the country, Russia has its hopes pinned on controlling its outbreak by vaccinating people en masse with its homemade Sputnik V jab.
Earlier this month, Russia launched a mass vaccination programme and inoculated high-risk workers aged between 18 and 60 without chronic illnesses. Over the weekend, people above the age of 60 were also given the green light for the shot.
However, despite these statistics, Russia has not clearly said how many people it has vaccinated so far. According to some surveys and polls, only 38% of Russians plan to get the shot.