Russia marks pandemic high of infections, deaths

Oct 14, 2021, 3:14 AM | Updated: 10:13 am
Medical workers carry a patient suspected of having coronavirus on a stretcher at a hospital in Kom...

Medical workers carry a patient suspected of having coronavirus on a stretcher at a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. Russia's daily coronavirus infections and deaths are hovering near all-time highs amid a laggard vaccination rate and the Kremlin's reluctance to toughen restrictions. Russia's state coronavirus task force reported 29,409 new confirmed cases Monday. That's the highest number since the start of the year and just slightly lower than the pandemic record reached in December. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Thursday recorded the highest daily numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths since the start of the pandemic, a rapidly surging toll that has severely strained the nation’s health care system.

The government’s coronavirus task force reported 31,299 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 986 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The country has repeatedly marked record daily death tolls over the past few weeks as infections surged amid a slow vaccination rate and lax enforcement of measures to protect against the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Tuesday that about 43 million Russians, or just about 29% of the country’s nearly 146 million people, were fully vaccinated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized the need to speed up the vaccination rate, but he also has cautioned against forcing people to get vaccine shots.

Despite the mounting toll, the Kremlin has also ruled out a new nationwide lockdown like the one during the first months of the pandemic, which badly crippled the economy and dented Putin’s ratings, while delegating the power to enforce coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.

Asked if there is a level of contagion that would force the Kremlin to impose a lockdown, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that each of Russia’s 85 regions will make a decision depending on the situation.

He noted that the country’s health care system has the resources and experience needed to cope with an influx of COVID-19 patients, adding that it would allow authorities to avoid lockdowns for “as long as the health care infrastructure isn’t overwhelmed and remains in a working condition.”

“When the situation approaches a critical point where a regional health care system becomes unable to treat incoming patients the authorities may make the relevant decisions,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.

Some Russian regions already have restricted attendance at large public events and limited access to theaters, restaurants and other places. But life remains largely normal in Moscow, St. Petersburg and many other Russian cities with unrestrained access to restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and other venues.

“If we don’t take measures to restrict social communications resulting in growing infections, we will face rising contagion,” Health Minister Mikhail Murashko warned Thursday.

Murashko said that more than 1.1 million COVID-19 patients are currently being treated at hospitals and at their homes, adding that the number is putting a “high load” on the nation’s health care system.

He noted that 42% of Russians older than 65 received the shots, adding that the proportion in the most vulnerable category of the population was clearly insufficient.

Amid the growing strain on the health care system, authorities have offered retired medics who were vaccinated to return to work, Murashko said.

Overall, Russia’s coronavirus task force has registered nearly 7.9 million confirmed cases and 220,315 deaths — the highest death toll in Europe. The official record ranks Russia as the fifth-hardest-hit nation in the world following the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

However, the state statistics agency Rosstat, which also counts deaths where the virus wasn’t considered the main cause, has reported a much higher toll of pandemic deaths — about 418,000 deaths of people with COVID-19 as of August. If that higher number is used, Russia would be the fourth hardest-hit nation in the world, surging past Mexico.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Pope Francis delivers his speech during a meeting with authorities, at the Presidential Palace, in ...
Associated Press

In democracy’s birthplace, pope warns of populist threats

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Pope Francis warned Saturday that the “easy answers” of populism and authoritarianism threaten democracy in Europe and called for fresh dedication to promoting the common good. Arriving in Greece, the birthplace of democracy, Francis used a speech to Greek political and cultural leaders to address Europe at large about the threats […]
6 hours ago
In this photo released by Saudi Royal Palace, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets French ...
Associated Press

France’s Macron meets Saudi crown prince in final Gulf stop

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday for the final leg of a two-day Gulf tour. Concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, the multiple crises in Lebanon and the ongoing war in Yemen were expected to be aired in private by both sides. Earlier […]
6 hours ago
FILE - People wait in line at a COVID-19 vaccination center, near Tor Vergata hospital in Rome, on ...
Associated Press

Italian dentist presents fake arm for vaccine to get pass

MILAN (AP) — A dentist in Italy faces possible criminal charges after trying to receive a coronavirus vaccine in a fake arm made of silicone. A nurse in the northern city of Biella, Filippa Bua, said she could tell right away that something was off when a man presented the phony limb for a shot […]
6 hours ago
Olaf Scholz, SPD Chancellor-designate speaks at the SPD party conference at Willy Brandt House in B...
Associated Press

Merkel makes final appeal to Germans to get vaccinated

BERLIN (AP) — Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday made what is likely her final appeal before leaving office next week for Germans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Merkel gave what is expected to be her last weekly video message two days after federal and state leaders decided on a series of measures meant to […]
6 hours ago
James, left, and Jennifer Crumbley are shown during the video arraignment of their son, Ethan Crumb...
Associated Press

Parents captured after son charged in Oxford school shooting

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The parents of a teen accused of killing four students in a shooting at a Michigan high school were caught early Saturday, several hours after a prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges against them, officials said. James and Jennifer Crumbley were captured in a commercial building in Detroit that housed artwork, Detroit […]
6 hours ago
Xu Lin, vice minister of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of China's Communist Par...
Associated Press

China’s communists bash US democracy before Biden summit

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Communist Party took American democracy to task on Saturday, sharply criticizing a global democracy summit being hosted by President Joe Biden next week and extolling the virtues of its governing system. Party officials questioned how a polarized country that botched its response to COVID-19 could lecture others, and said that efforts […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.
...
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
...
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
Russia marks pandemic high of infections, deaths