Russia’s daily Covid death toll hits grim record as cases rise and vaccinations lag

Russia has hit a grim new record in its Covid-19 pandemic, with the number of daily deaths caused by the virus hitting a new high.

Russia reported 28,190 new coronavirus cases and 973 deaths from Covid on Tuesday, a new record number of daily fatalities, according to data from the government’s coronavirus taskforce. In total, Russia has recorded over 7.8 million cases of the virus and over 218,000 deaths.

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko delivered sharp warnings on the public health crisis in Russia on Tuesday, telling a cabinet meeting that that incidence of Covid in Russia had increased 16% over the past week and in some regions, the growth rate was more than 30%.

Russia has about 255,000 beds for Covid patients, of which about 235,000 are occupied, Murashko said, with 11% of Russia’s hospitalized Covid patients in a serious or critical condition “and practically all of them are patients who have not been vaccinated,” Murashko said, according to the TASS news agency.

Russia is desperate to increase vaccination rates in the country but many members of the public have been reluctant to take up the Covid shot, primarily the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine, often despite the offer of incentives including money, shopping coupons and gift cards, and easy access to facilities such as walk-in immunization centers.

So far, however, the Kremlin has resisted making Covid vaccination mandatory for the wider public although there is a wide swathe of workers in several regions, and in several sectors such as retail, health care and education, that must have a Covid vaccine now or risk losing their jobs.

Nonetheless, vaccination figures remain low with around 31% of Russia’s 144 million population fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.

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