“I think the country is now falling into disaster,” Vasily Vlassov, a Russian epidemiologist and former adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO), 告诉CNN.
“I have hope we will soon come to a certain limit beyond which we will not go, but this is still very high morbidity and mortality. Hospitals are overwhelmed,” Vlassov said, predicting that deaths would spike further still before the end of the year.
And there are concerns that Russia’s official figures do not reflect the true scale of its public health emergency.
“(一个) person who dies of respiratory failure from Covid often gets into the statistics as a person who died from respiratory failure, but not from Covid,” Vlassov said. “High morbidity in Russia is seen as a sign of failure of the state and society.”
CNN has previously reported concerns about Russian officials underreporting coronavirus death figures
. Russia’s counting method does not include part of the deaths in the official statistics stating people died
” but not
,” which does not comply with WHO recommendations
Government officials have begun talking openly about the depth of the crisis. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at a Covid-19 taskforce meeting on Tuesday that the burden on medical institutions is seriously increasing, while the governor of the Oryol region, Andrey Klychkov, recently revealed that the region does not have the capacity to hospitalize any more coronavirus patients.
“The most terrible figure is that we had 1,854 beds prepared, today there are no more free beds available. 当然, we will free as many beds as we can, we’ll look for options. But at the moment there are no beds available, and this raises serious concerns,” Klychkov said during a live broadcast on Instagram.
Russia’s efforts to reduce transmission have been seriously hampered by a lackluster vaccination program. 只是 31% of the population is fully vaccinated, in a country where four domestic vaccines are available.
“The main reason is distrust of the authorities and the information they broadcast,” Denis Volkov, the director of Levada-Center — a non-governmental polling and sociological research organization — 告诉CNN.
“From the very beginning contradictory information was broadcast through the main channels: some said that you need to be vaccinated; others said that this is a fictitious disease,” 他说. “Various conspiracy theories were entertained on state media. There was no clear consistent message from the government from the start.”
Volkov also suggested that an early Russian campaign to promote its own vaccines and belittle foreign shots backfired, instead reinforcing many Russians’ concerns about vaccines in general.
“It’s time to say it bluntly: the state has lost the information campaign to combat the coronavirus and explain to people the need for vaccination,” the deputy speaker of the State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy said on Saturday.
“This is a fact: people do not trust the vaccine,” Tolstoy was quoted as saying by state media RIA Novosti.
星期二, when the country hit another Covid deaths record, the Kremlin admitted its partial responsibility for the low vaccination rates. “当然, not all that needed to be done was done for informing and explaining the inevitability and importance of vaccination,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told journalists.
“But at the same time, citizens of our country need to take a more responsible position and get vaccinated,” 他加了.
Certain regions continue to introduce local restrictions depending on the severity of local Covid-19 situations. 但, 至今, the government has been consistently saying that there are no grounds for announcing a full lockdown.
“[The government] is scared to make people angry, scared to leave people without bread, which will make them even angrier,” Ekaterina Schulmann, a political scientist, 告诉CNN.
“People have seen a constant decline in income since 2014, support for the president has been descending since 2018. It is risky to push people even further,” 她补充说.