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Russia's Battle with COVID-19

Alisa Arkhangelskaya
Grade 11
As coronavirus blazes through the world, transcending borders, nations and people, Russia is one of the countries with the highest number of cases. However, surprising everyone with his actions, Russian President Vladimir Putin eased the nationwide lockdown imposed in March to flatten the curve of the coronavirus, even as Russia became Europe’s new hotspot for the infection. Furthermore, Russia has been spreading a wave of disinformation about the pandemic, to reduce panic and act calm on the global stage.

With more than 250 000 cases, Russia has one of the highest number of confirmed cases in the world. These measures were introduced in late March by the Kremlin stating that people who work non-essential jobs are to stay home but still receive their salaries. However, starting on May 12, the national period of lockdown ended in all sectors of infrastructure as employers grappled with financing issues. This undermined the sweeping global efforts to contain the virus. According to Jonathan Brown and Maria Antonova from CTV News, the lockdown effort has brought uncertainty to citizens already grappling with falling oil prices and businesses struggling to pay salaries to non-essential workers.

"Starting from tomorrow, May 12, the national period of non-working days will be over for all sectors of the economy," the President announced during a meeting with officials responsible for the wellbeing in these turbulent times. Vladimir Putin’s announcement came after Russia announced an average of 11,000 people testing positive for the virus every day. He claims that the rise of cases is mostly due to the aggressive testing, even of people who show minimal symptoms. Furthermore, Russia’s various regions have been granted their own rights to determine minor changes to the anti-virus measures. This creates many loopholes and lacks a centralized system necessary to get the disease under control.

Additionally, the mortality rate for COVID-19 in Russia remains under 1%, while in the United States, which has been in the midst of the pandemic for almost two months, the mortality rate from COVID-19 was 6%, according to the University of Johns Hopkins; in Brazil the mortality was nearly 7% and in parts of Western Europe, including Italy, France, Spain, Belgium and the UK the mortality rate was over 10%. An idea of why the mortality rate remains so low is because deaths are being written off as other things such as pneumonia. The method of Russia's attribution to COVID-19 is unknown and, for instance, if a person with a heart condition dies of COVID-19, it is unknown which cause will be put down in legal records. Furthermore, how quickly does information from the vast rural areas reach Moscow? And how does this get managed?

Overall, due to the lack of government control the virus is getting out of hand. Without proper information it is impossible to find out how dire the situation really is, but it is certain that the mortality rate is not under 1%, and the people should not neglect measures implemented for the protection of society.