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Russia posted record numbers of daily infections and deaths from the coronavirus two days after two million cases on Saturday.

Health officials reported 24,822 new infections and 476 deaths, bringing the national total of 2,064,748 million cases and 35,778 deaths since the beginning of the year.

While these numbers suggest a lower death rate than anywhere else in the world, they should be treated with caution. The official Russian death toll includes only those found to be the main cause of death from COVID following an autopsy.

Data released earlier this month by the Russian Federal Statistics Service suggests that more than 117,000 people were killed between March and September year-over-year, suggesting that virus deaths could be much higher.

Most of the new cases announced on Saturday were recorded in Moscow (7,168) and the country’s second largest city, Saint Petersburg (2,476), while numbers on the order of tens or hundreds were recorded in other regions.

“We’re getting a lot of calls right now,” Dmitri, an ambulance driver from Saint Petersburg, told AFP. “The number of sick people is growing.”

The medical team he used to collect samples to identify cases, who visited around 20 addresses daily, he said.

“People are scared and will call for a doctor as soon as they get a little cough,” said Lyudmila, one of the two nurses on the team.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the rise in infections and deaths as “alarming”.

He admitted that there were drug shortages and long waiting times for ambulances in several regions, but said the authorities were in control of the situation.

Putin last month called for “targeted and justified” measures to combat the spread of the virus that regions could take on their own initiative.

Russia registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V – named after the Soviet-era satellite – in August, but before large-scale clinical trials began.

The developers have since reported that interim results showed the vaccine to be 92 percent effective, slightly less than its international competitors.

Last month, Putin announced that Russia had registered a second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona.

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© 2020 AFP

Quote: The number of viruses in Russia, deaths and new highs (2020, November 21) were obtained on November 21, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-11-russia-virus-toll-deaths-highs. html

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