Business Insider (USA): Russia is rapidly becoming the epicenter of the pandemic coronavirus

Russia is rapidly becoming the epicenter of the pandemic coronavirus, health workers still reported shortages of personal protective equipment — and Putin is already thinking about the gradual lifting of restrictions.

  • Russia is rapidly becoming the epicenter of the pandemic coronavirus infection: the country has already recorded more than 177 thousand cases and 1600 deaths.

  • Thursday, may 8, Russia set a new record, reporting 11321 new cases of infection per day.

  • Russian medical workers complain about the lack of protective equipment, and Express suspicion that the statistics of deaths from coronavirus understated.

  • Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to keep a low profile, has already transferred most of the authority management in the conditions of crisis the regional authorities and is considering the possibility of a gradual easing of restrictions.

Although some time ago it seemed that Russia managed to avoid serious outbreaks of coronavirus infection, since then the situation in this country has changed dramatically.

Thursday, may 8, Russia set a new record, reporting 11321 new cases of infection per day. As notes the edition, The Moscow Times, Russia has overtaken Germany and France, finishing in fifth place in the world in the number of confirmed cases of infection with coronavirus.

Now in Russia recorded the highest rate of infection among the European countries, and it ranks second in the world in terms of infection, second only to the United States.

However, the impression that the Russian government has still not developed a clear exit strategy from the crisis. Health workers continue to report a lack of personal protective equipment, and President Vladimir Putin is considering the gradual lifting of restrictions.

Questions about numbers

It is possible that the epidemic of coronavirus in Russia is much more serious than reported by the authorities. Official data on the number of cases and deaths do not coincide with those tendencies, which were recorded in other countries.

May 8, Russia had officially registered more than 177 thousand cases of infection and only 1625 deaths.

For most countries, characterized by a much higher mortality rate than in Russia. In France, where by 8 may there were approximately 174 thousand cases of infection from the coronavirus has killed more than 25 thousand people.

All this suggests that the Russian government may deliberately understate the true extent of the epidemic.

In April, authorities detained Anastasia Vasilyev, the head of the independent Association of Russian doctors, after she accused the government of deliberately underreporting the number of cases on patients with coronavirus infection are often diagnosed with pneumonia.

Lack of personal protective equipment

The doctors continue to complain about unsafe working conditions and lack of personal protective equipment. Some doctors even refuse to work and quit in protest.

Tuesday, may 5, the emergency doctor Dmitry Seregin told the Guardian that he and his colleagues wear all protective equipment is fully only in those cases when they know in advance that their patient coronavirus, and that more than a dozen of his colleagues have often had contact with people infected with this virus.

The Guardian has also reported that one doctor from the veterans hospital in St. Petersburg decided to quit due to the fact that the hospital was an acute shortage of PPE. Doctor Marianne Zamyatin said that before she resigned, she wore the mask of a welder that was given to her husband.

Obviously, the coronavirus caused by the Russian health care workers particularly hard-hit.

According to the Guardian, one hospital, St. Petersburg coronavirus infection contracted 111 ambulance workers.

There was even created a special website, which contains the names of health workers who died in the pandemic Covid-19. By 8 may there were 113 people.

“We are seeing a mass infection among health care workers, said in an interview with the Guardian Andrew butcher, co-Chairman of the independent trade Union of medical workers “Action”. — Judging by what we see, hospitals are one of the key vectors of the spread of the disease.”

Doctors die under mysterious circumstances

Over the past few weeks three doctors fell from the Windows of hospitals under mysterious circumstances. Two of them died.

48-year-old Natalia Lebedeva, head of the ambulance of Star city, died April 24 after she fell out of a window on the fifth floor of a Moscow hospital, where she underwent treatment for coronavirus.

On the eve of her death, the leadership accused her that she had infected several of his employees and has not taken sufficient measures to ensure their safety.

A day later, 47-year-old Elena remembering, acting chief physician of the Krasnoyarsk veterans hospital, fell out of the window of the fifth floor of the hospital. There were rumors that she had a conflict with local officials who wanted to turn the hospital into a center for the treatment of patients with coronavirus, although there was only one ventilator.

A week later, the 37-year-old ambulance doctor Alexander Shulepov fell from the window on the second floor of the hospital where he’s being treated for the coronavirus, and he currently is in intensive care with a fractured skull.

Ten days before this Shulepov recorded a video in which he complained that it is forced to go to work, in spite of confirmed his diagnosis Covid-19. After that the police detained him for spreading “fake news,” but he later apologized, adding that he published the post “on the emotions”.

Dmitry Belyakov, Chairman of the independent trade Union for ambulance staff, said in an interview with the Independent that he has reason to believe that these three incidents were attempts to commit suicide, caused by the difficult situation faced by the doctors in Russia.

“Leaders do not understand what to do, so they started looking for scapegoats in the middle tier, he said. Exhausted pandemic, doctors begin to jump out of Windows.”

Putin prefers not to interfere

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin prefers to keep a low profile, shifting the burden of decision-making in the context of the epidemic of the coronavirus in the regional leaders.

Perhaps it was because the issues related to epidemics, are outside the scope of his competence and he’s worried that any mistake can ruin the image.

“Putin is poorly versed in these matters”, — said Konstantin gaaze, a political analyst from the Moscow Carnegie center, in his recent interview with Politico.

“He is willing to transfer some of its powers, because he doesn’t know what is right or wrong in the current circumstances”.

During his rare appearances Putin offers rather contradictory characteristics of the situation in the country. For example, on 14 April he said that the country has many problems, but five days ago he stressed that the situation is under full control.

As informs Agency Reuters, as a result of the current crisis, Putin’s rating has fallen to 59%.

The gradual lifting of restrictions?

Although the epidemic of coronavirus in Russia, obviously, has reached its peak, Putin, apparently, is already thinking about a gradual easing of restrictions.

Wednesday, may 6, he instructed the governors to prepare plans for the gradual lifting of quarantine restrictions, as reported by the Financial Times. In addition, Putin supported the plan to resume operation of industrial and construction companies since may 12.

Moscow authorities have extended the validity regime of self-isolation until may 31, but may 13, some limitations concerning the number of companies will be removed.

However, it is clear that Putin wants to avoid mistakes.

“Where tough, reasonable preventive measures to keep and even add to it. And somewhere, perhaps, to plan a certain reasonable mitigation, — said Putin. — Again, I stress: do not get ahead of ourselves. Any carelessness or haste can result in the breakdown setback”.

“The price for the slightest error is the safety, lives and health of our people,” he added.