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Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Sets All-Time Coronavirus Infection Record and Kremlin Says It May have to Intervene


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Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 9 – The Russian government reported registering 12,126 new cases of infection today, the highest-one day total ever and one that brings the cumulative number to 1,272,238. It also said it had recorded 201 additional deaths, upping that toll to 22,257 (t.me/COVID2019_official/534).

            Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that if the numbers continue to rise, the federal government may have to intervene, although he denied that plans were in place to block the movement of people from one region to another (lenta.ru/news/2020/10/09/peskov/and rg.ru/2020/10/09/v-kremle-ne-iskliuchili-dopolnitelnyh-reshenij-v-sviazi-s-koronavirusom.html).

            The World Health organization says that Russia needs to take more measures soon or it will face “a storm” of new infections (mk.ru/social/health/2020/10/09/v-voz-predupredili-ob-ugroze-koronavirusnoy-buri-v-rossii.html).

            Monitoring is increasing. Moscow reported that for the first time ever, it conducted more than 500,000 tests for the coronavirus over the past 24 hours (regnum.ru/news/3085594.html). IT experts say ever more Russians are going online for information about the pandemic (newizv.ru/article/general/09-10-2020/tsifry-ne-vrut-zaprosy-v-poiskovyh-setyah-fiksiruyut-bystryy-rost-bolnyh-kovidom).

            New research shows that in recent weeks, office workers are the group in Russia showing the highest rate of new infections (versia.ru/rospotrebnadzor-ofisnye-rabotniki-zabolevali-v-sentyabre-koronavirusom-chashhe-drugix). Moreover, media surveys show that closures increasingly are outnumbering re-openings (regnum.ru/news/society/3082765.htmland https://regnum.ru/news/society/3072297.html).

            An especially unfortunate report comes from Chelyabinsk where officials, already overwhelmed by the coronavirus, have ordered ambulances not to respond to calls from people who believe they have the infection (novayagazeta.ru/news/2020/10/09/164822-v-chelyabinskoy-oblasti-skoraya-pomosch-ne-poedet-k-patsientam-s-bolyami-v-grudi-otravleniyami-i-podozreniyami-na-covid-19).

            Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin says that the next week is critical as far as restrictions are concerned. If the situation doesn’t improve as a result of greater discipline by the population, more restrictions will have to be put in place (regnum.ru/news/3086307.html and regnum.ru/news/3086327.html).

            Russian media outlets gave prominent coverage to US suggestions that Moscow was among the foreign governments that have been seeking to interfere with the development of a vaccine in the United States (novayagazeta.ru/news/2020/10/09/164810-ssha-zayavili-o-popytkah-rossii-pomeshat-poluchit-im-vaktsinu-ot-covid-19).

            Russian officials denied that there was a shortage of medications in the country and that there are significant side effects from treatments (regnum.ru/news/3086303.html, capost.media/news/obshchestvo/eksperty-podelilis-mneniyami-o-pobochnykh-effektakh-antikovidnoy-vaktsiny/and regnum.ru/news/3086101.html).

            Debates continued on how long the pandemic will last and whether the country can achieve herd immunity, with most experts increasingly pessimistic about both the one and the other (versia.ru/rossiyanam-predskazali-veroyatnuyu-vstrechu-s-koronavirusom-do-konca-oseni,

rbc.ru/politics/09/10/2020/5f74f2a19a794724dc95b161, business-gazeta.ru/article/483874and meduza.io/feature/2020/10/09/s-etim-vidom-koronavirusa-my-budem-zhit-vsegda).

            On the economic front, collection agencies report that 20 percent of those they call on can’t pay because their incomes have fallen (rbc.ru/finances/09/10/2020/5f7eef399a794711bda956b3).  Other experts warn that new restrictions will boost unemployment and business failures (regnum.ru/news/3086267.html, finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/maly-biznes-ne-uvidel-budushchego-u-rossiyskoy-ekonomiki-1029665231and regnum.ru/news/3085845.html).

            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         Many are warning that official calls for greater discipline will generate anger rather than compliance (regnum.ru/news/3086151.html).

·         Criticism of new restrictions is now flooding online platforms (regnum.ru/news/3085327.html).

·         But one survey reports that the level of happiness among Russians has risen 11 percent since the summer to a new record of 58 percent (regnum.ru/news/3085504.html).

Window on Eurasia — New Series