MOSCOW (Reuters) – The number of additional deaths in Russia between May and July was three times higher than the official coronavirus toll, recent government data show, a discrepancy some experts say is about the accuracy of Moscow’s count Raise questions.
While Russia has confirmed the world’s fourth-largest rally in coronovirus cases, it has relatively fewer deaths from the associated disease, COVID-19.
Moscow says that the way it classifies death is more accurate than in other countries. Some Russian health officials have explained that in many cases, a patient who dies with COVID-19 does not necessarily die, but for other reasons, including pre-existing health problems.
Tatiana Golikova, head of Russia’s Coronavirus Crisis Center, told President Vladimir Putin in late July that Russia’s coronovirus mortality rate was “significantly lower than in other countries”.
But data released on September 4 by the Rosette State Statistics Service reported that there were 57,800 additional deaths between May and July, the peak of the outbreak.
The figure was calculated by comparing the fatalities in those three months in 2020 with the average number of deaths in May – July between 2020 and 2019. This additional total is more than three times the official May-July COVID-19 deaths of 15,955.
Aleksey Raksha, a demographer who worked for Rosestat until this summer, said jumping into Russian deaths describes the actual toll from COVID-19, and officials had only publicly reported a few deaths.
“In fact, the fatality rate in Russia differs only slightly from other countries,” the defense said.
The Kremlin did not respond to a request for comment on why those responsible for COVID-19 had more deaths and whether the government was playing below the actual death toll.
Russia’s Coronavirus Crisis Center said it only confirmed deaths from coronovirus per day and referred Reuters to Rosetta’s revised data, which showed that COVID-19 was several thousand more than initially reported Fatal consequences would have arisen because in some cases the cause of death was not established.
It also said: “We repeatedly found a lethal rate lower than Russia’s novel coronavirus in the world, which was 2.8%, including the May – July period.”
Excessive deaths, which some epidemiologists say is the best way to measure the correct toll from COVID-19, surpass the official COVID-19 deaths in many countries, given that counting methods vary between countries. Go.
In Russia, they surpass the number of COVID-19 deaths by a factor of 3.6 for the months in question. Defense and some opposition celebrities have criticized Putin for reducing the epidemic.
In absolute terms, the figure of approximately 60,000 additional deaths from May to July is comparable with the United Kingdom, Europe’s worst hit country. However, Russia’s population of 145 million is double that of Britain.
If total Russian deaths from COVID-19 were close to 60,000, according to Reuters data, it would be the fifth-largest national total globally, from 12th to the present.
Some medics say the coronavirus epidemic has increased deaths from other causes, because people were afraid of going to the hospital with unrelated health issues or were turned away from wards overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.
In some European countries, the death toll returned to normal levels in June, but Russia suffered from extreme deaths from June to July.
According to Rostat there were 14,200 additional deaths in May, 12,200 in June and 31,400 deaths in July. The August figures have not yet been released.
Nikolai Kulbaka, economist of the National Economy and Public Administration of the State-funded Russian President’s Academy, said coronovirus initially spread more slowly due to lower levels within the country.
“There are areas where coronoviruses will come much later. It will not end soon, ”he said.
At the onset of the crisis, Russia introduced new fines and prison terms for anyone who spread information seen as false, which state media says was a measure against fake news about the epidemic .
The defense, which works for Russia’s State Statistics Service, said he publicly challenged the official coronavirus virus under pressure from his former employer’s Department of Security. He said he was forced to quit the job in July.
“I was threatened with a criminal case,” he said.
Rogstat said the defense left the job on its own. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the circumstances of his departure.
“The expression of the views of its employees for comment” Rozstat believes it is an advantage for the organization because it allows (us) to show the capability of state data, it said in response to a request for comment.
Additional reporting by Tatiana Gomezova and Gleib Stolirov; Editing by Mike Collett-White