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Russia’s Daily COVID-19 Death Toll Hits New High

A waiter wearing a face mask and gloves to protect against coronavirus, serve customers in a restaurant "Meat and fish" in Moscow, Russia, June 18, 2021.
A waiter wearing a face mask and gloves to protect against coronavirus, serve customers in a restaurant "Meat and fish" in Moscow, Russia, June 18, 2021.

Russia reported its highest one-day coronavirus death toll since the pandemic began. According to Russia's national coronavirus task force, there were 890 deaths on Sunday. It was the fifth day in a row that it reported a new daily record for coronavirus deaths.

The task force also said the number of new coronavirus infections reported Sunday was the second highest of the year at nearly 25,800 infections.

Since the pandemic began, Russia has reported nearly 205,000 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the most in Europe, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The country has a population of about 146 million and has recorded nearly 7.5 million coronavirus infections, according to Johns Hopkins. The United Kingdom, with a population of about 67 million, leads Europe with 7.9 million cases since the pandemic began.

Russian officials say they have no plans to impose a lockdown, strictly enforce mask-wearing regulations or require proof of vaccination. About 30% of Russia’s population is fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins, despite the country having developed its own vaccine, Sputnik V.

Saliva test

A British company says it has developed an easy-to-administer, saliva-based test that can detect whether a person is infectious enough to pass along the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The company, Vatic, said in a statement that its test is “extremely accurate” and has not returned a single false positive result in its test group. “This is so important for getting life back to normal,” the company said.

Vatic said its “mission was to design a test that people won’t mind using multiple times a week.”

Tests results are available in 15 minutes, the company said.

The test is not available to the public yet while it undergoes more trials. Vatic is seeking approval for its sale directly to the public.

Life expectancy

A report in The Economist says COVID in 2020 has brought an abrupt halt to the steady rise of life expectancy in much of the world.

Researchers in Britain, Denmark and Germany said that between 2019 and 2020 life expectancy dropped in all but two of the 28 countries surveyed. Life expectancy

rose in Denmark and Norway and for women in Finland. Meanwhile, male life expectancy fell by more than a year in Italy, Poland and Spain and fell by more than two years in the United States.

Another report in The Economist says that the death rate from COVID in the U.S. “is about eight times higher in America than in the rest of the rich world” due to vaccine hesitancy and other factors. The report said, “America’s antipathy to vaccines and continued resistance to other interventions, particularly among Republicans, is worrying. YouGov’s poll indicates that, among those who voted for [former U.S. President] Donald Trump in 2020, 31% say they will not get vaccinated, 71% strongly disapprove of President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate and nearly 40% never wear a face mask. That remains a deadly combination.”

“The pandemic has destabilized societies, economies, and governments. It has shown that there is no global security without global health security,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said about COVID-19 in a recent address to ambassadors and representatives to the European Union’s political and security committee.

“The fastest and best way to end this pandemic is with genuine global cooperation on vaccine supply and access,” Tedros said. “The longer vaccine inequity persists, the longer the social and economic turmoil will continue, and the more opportunity the virus has to circulate and change into more dangerous variants. We need a global realization that no country can vaccinate its way out of this pandemic in isolation from the rest of the world.”

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported Sunday it had recorded 234.6 million global COVID infections and nearly 5 million deaths.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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