Monday, February 22, 2021

Russia undercounted Covid deaths says DPM

Covid-19: Russia admits to understating deaths by more than two thirds | British Medical Journal - Owen Dyer: 

December 31, 2020 - "Russia’s true death toll from the novel coronavirus pandemic is not about 57,000, as official figures claim, but more than 180,000, the country’s deputy prime minister, Tatiana Golikova, conceded at a press conference.

"Russia’s claims of an extraordinarily low mortality have been widely dismissed as implausible for months by foreign observers and Russian doctors alike. Every other indicator, from packed hospitals with long lines of ambulances to mortality among health workers documented by their own associations, has painted a picture of a country hit hard by the pandemic.... These suspicions were confirmed when the Rosstat statistics agency said on 28 December that the number of deaths from all causes recorded between January and November was 229,700 higher than in 2019. 'More than 81% of this increase in mortality over this period is due to covid,' said Golikova. That would mean that more than 186,000 Russians have died from covid-19.

"The figures mean Russia ranks third in the world in terms of [total] deaths from covid-19, behind only the US and Brazil. It would also give Russia the fourth highest per capita death rate, about 1273 deaths per million population, behind only San Marino, Belgium, and Slovenia.

"But the higher figures, which are estimated from numbers of excess deaths, may never find their way into official statistics of the pandemic. The director of Mexico’s National Centre for Preventive Programs and Disease Control made a similar announcement in October, telling a press conference that the country had undercounted deaths by more than 50 000 .... yet the extra deaths have never been added....

"The low official figure was generated by only reporting deaths in which novel coronavirus infection was identified on autopsy. From the beginning the official numbers drew widespread scorn from Russian doctors, who on social media painted a far grimmer picture, often mourning deaths in their own ranks from lack of personal protective equipment. A privately maintained list of Russian medical staff who lost their lives fighting the pandemic now stands at over 1000 names....

"Three doctors who raised concerns about the country’s response mysteriously fell from windows in the early months of the pandemic.4 Anastasia Vasilyeva, the head of the doctors’ union Alyans Vrachei (Doctors’ Alliance), an opposition linked group that has criticised pandemic preparations, was arrested and beaten by police when she attempted to deliver PPE to a hospital near Novgorod.....

"The deputy prime minister’s admission will embarrass President Vladimir Putin, who has favourably compared Russia’s response to those of other countries, on the basis of its supposed low death rate. Putin later appeared somewhat chastened, telling regional governors in one televised meeting in May that 'we don’t have much to brag about.'"

Read more:    Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4975

Copyright © 2021 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ's website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained. 

No comments:

Post a Comment