Unwanted record: Russia’s COVID deaths hit new high in July

International News

FILE – In this Monday, July 12, 2021 file photo, a medical worker administers a shot of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Gostinny Dvor, a huge exhibition place in Moscow, Russia. A senior Russian official says that the country has seen mortality rise at a faster pace last month amid a surge in coronavirus infections. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, who leads the government’s coronavirus task force, told the Tass news agency Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 that Russia saw a 17.9% increase in mortality in July, year-on-year. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — A new report from Russia’s state statistics agency shows the country recorded a record number of deaths in July of people infected with coronavirus.

The report from the Rosstat agency said 50,421 people suffering from COVID-19 died during the month, sharply higher than the previous record of 44,435 in December.

However, the agency said in the report that only 38,992 deaths were directly attributed to the disease. In another 5,206 deaths, the virus was assessed as likely the main cause but that more investigation would be need; in 1,449 other cases, the virus contributed to the deaths but was not the main cause.

Rosstat said the other 4,844 deaths of infected people were not connected to the virus.

The report said the total of virus-related deaths in Russia by the end of July was 215,265 — well higher than the 180,840 cited by the national coronavirus task force. Russian officials ascribe that to different counting methods, saying the task force only includes deaths where COVID-19 was the main cause.

Officials also say the task force uses data from medical facilities while Rosstat takes its numbers from civil registry offices, where registering a death is finalized.

Russia’s vaccination drive against COVID-19 has lagged behind other nations. As of mid-August, only a quarter of the country’s 146 million people had received at least one vaccine dose, while 20% had been fully vaccinated.

Authorities in many regions have made vaccines mandatory for certain groups of workers, including those employed in health care, education, retail, public transportation and government offices.

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