Russia announces record number of COVID-19 deaths

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Russia recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic on Thursday with 808 lives lost.

The official COVID-19 death toll in Russia now stands at 168,049 — the fifth highest in the world, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The real tally is likely to be much higher. The country’s statistics agency Rosstat, which has a broader definition of what constitutes a COVID-19 death, reported more than 300,000 fatalities by the end of June.

The Coronavirus Taskforce also announced that there had been 21,932 new infections detected over the previous 24 hours. The country has been recorded more than 20,000 new daily infections since June 24.

The surge is being blamed on the Delta variant.

Russian authorities have struggled to promote vaccination despite touting its homegrown Sputnik V vaccine abroad.

About 27% of the country’s 144.4 million population has received at least one dose and just 19% is fully vaccinated, according to Our World In Data.

This lags behind other countries, including the UK, US, and the EU, which have all fully inoculated more than half of their population.

Mortality in Russia in July was 17.9% higher than July 2020, officials announced last week. This followed a 14.1% year-on-year jump in June.

Rosstat said 27,118 people who had coronavirus died in June, about 43% more than the previous month. It marked the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths since January when the agency reported about 37,900 deaths due to COVID-19.

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