Bloomberg (USA): experts want to know why the coronavirus killed more Russian

With the spread of infection Russia came in second place in the world, behind only the U.S., but health experts do not give rest one question: why in this case it tells about such a small number of deaths?

Russian officials say that today from covid-19 died on 2 212 of 242 271 cases identified since the beginning of the epidemic. In General, the number of cases Russia on Tuesday toured Spain, where the mortality amounted to 27 000 people, and previously had surpassed Britain and Italy, where the death rate exceeds the Russian in twelve times or more.

The world health organization (who) says it’s conducting an exchange of opinions with Russia on the statistics of deaths from the coronavirus in the country. The stated level of 0.9% is much lower than the average, and among the heavily affected countries the lowest figure.

“We, who are closely discussing this issue with the Russian authorities, — said the chief representative of the organization in Russia, Melita Vujnović (Melita Vujnovic) in an interview last week. — They look at overall mortality and check to see if anything”. The Ministry of health to a request for comment did not respond.

In mid-April is the Geneva-based office of the United Nations issued guidelines in which countries are encouraged to register cases of death as related covid-19 in those cases “when the disease is caused or allegedly caused death or contributed to her”. Data from four Russian regions, however, have suggested that the real mortality would be much higher if you count the cases when the patients diagnosed with covid-19 died from other causes, such as liver or heart failure.

A narrow definition

The mortality rate in Russia is low because the statistics only those cases in which cause of death is listed directly to the virus covid-19, said the official who knows the calculations of deaths from coronavirus. Countries with higher totals criteria of mortality from covid-19 wider.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova on Tuesday denied that Russia underestimates the level of mortality. “As you are, and no fraud we are not doing,” she said.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of health assured that in classification of death in patients with a diagnosis of covid-19 adheres to the rules of international statistics. This means that as the cause of death was listed as a disease that directly led to it — for example, acute vascular insufficiency.

Some regions started to register the death of patients who test positive for coronavirus apart from cases where the immediate cause of death the doctors called a virus.

Russia reports record levels of infection: since may 3, a day is added more than 10 thousand cases — and this is despite the regime of isolation, which is valid from the end of March and has already resulted in a decline in economic activity. Amid fears that Russia is slipping into a deep recession, President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday that the lifting of the quarantine, at the same time laying the blame on regional leaders for making decisions about the pace safe mitigation measures.

Despite the increasing number of cases, Russia is the only one of the ten most affected countries, where the mortality rate remains below 1%. In Spain, France and the UK, the mortality rate ranges from 12 to 14% in the US the figure is 6% and in Germany — 4,4%. Worldwide, 4.3 million of identified cases died 293 366 or 6.8%.

Russia as an exception

Of course, due to large-scale testing in Russia revealed a huge number of new cases — of which more than 40% of asymptomatic. However, even in South Korea, which has launched perhaps the most comprehensive system for tracking of coronavirus, the death rate is 2.5 times higher than in Russia.

Chelyabinsk oblast in the Urals is highlighted by the transparency of their data covid-19: there is separately considered fatal cases caused directly by the virus — four of them, and the death of patients diagnosed with covid-19, but from other causes, eight. In national statistics, the Chelyabinsk region is represented by only four occasions.

Perm Krai, also in the Urals, reported 23 fatalities to 12, assigned to the Moscow region authorities. In the Ryazan region in the middle lane was 15 deaths among patients with a diagnosis of covid-19 or suspicion of disease — at that time, as the national database shows only seven deaths. In the Saratov region in the South-West of Russia was 17 deaths associated with coronavirus, but in the national database there are only five.

The differences in the average number of deaths also speak in favor of higher mortality. The total number of deaths in Moscow in April, 1 854 more than the average for that month since 2010.

At a briefing on Tuesday Golikova has denied speculation that the data on increased mortality suggests that Russia underestimates mortality from covid-19.

On a global level the death rate in Russia is “extremely low,” said Jeremy Rossman (Rossman Jeremy), senior lecturer in Virology at the University of Kent. “From this it follows that the risk of death from covid-19 lower than it actually is. To keep the openness from the point of view of reporting is really important, because we need to understand the true scale of mortality”.

The article was written with assistance from Ilya Arkhipov, Stepan Kravchenko, Evgenia Written and Ruditsky Jake (Jake Rudnitsky)