Russia has seen nearly 425,000 excess deaths since start of Covid-19 pandemic, raising suspicions that the country’s official death toll is much higher than 123,000.
The country’s 425,000 excess deaths had been recorded from April 2020 to April 2021, according to Reuters calculations based on data released by Russia’s state statistics service on Friday.
The number of excess fatalities, which some epidemiologists say is the best way to measure the real death toll from coronavirus, exceeds the country’s official Covid death toll.
The data has led to suspicions that the total number of Covid fatalities is much higher than the 123,037 recorded, a figure which is calculated by Russia’s coronavirus task force.
Excess mortality refers to the number of deaths from all causes during a health crisis, comparing the number of deaths during the pandemic to what would have normally been expected.
Russia has seen nearly 425,000 excess deaths since start of Covid-19 crisis, according to data from April 2020 to April 2021. Pictured: An intensive care unit of a temporary Covid facility of Hospital No 67 at Krylatskoye Ice Palace
Rosstat, Russia’s state statistics service, keeps its own records and said on Friday that around 270,000 people had died in Russia from Covid and other related causes since the beginning of the pandemic last year.
In April this year, 20,323 people died from Covid and related causes in Russia, which is 11.6 per cent higher than the same period last year, the statistics service said.
On Thursday, Russia recorded 2,614 new Covid-19 fatalities while the number of confirmed cases saw 63,058 added to the rising total.
It comes after Russians have been warned limit their vodka consumption after receiving the Sputnik V jab, as the country registered the world’s first vaccine for animals.
The head of the Gamaleya Research Institute, which created Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, said Russians should not drink more than one and a half shots of vodka a day if they want its protection to remain effective.
Alexander Gintsburg said that the cells of the immune system ‘stop multiplying’ if there is a higher level of alcohol in the body.
The data has led to suspicions that the total number of Covid fatalities are much higher than the 123,037 recorded (pictured), a figure calculated by Russia’s coronavirus task force
On Thursday, Russia recorded 2,614 new Covid-19 fatalities while the number of confirmed cases saw 63,058 added (pictured) to the rising total
‘Cells must multiply for antibodies to be produced,’ he added.
The average Russian drinks 110 shots of the national drink each year, but the figure is believed to be far higher for men.
Recipients of the Sputnik V vaccine were previously advised to abstain from alcohol for nearly two months before and after receiving the jab to avoid straining the body’s immune system.
Gintsburg’s warning came as Russia registered the world’s first vaccine for animals, named Carnivac-Cov.
‘The next stage [of the pandemic] is the infection of farm and domestic animals,’ the microbiologist said.
‘And when we protect humanity with the help of good vaccines within a year, pets will be infected by that time. And no one is going to get rid of their beloved pets.’
Gintsburg said that the pathogen will continue to evolve and be present in communities.
‘One must be prepared for a long existence with this pathogen,’ he added.
Carnivac-Cov was developed by the Federal Centre for Animal Health, according to Russian media.
‘It is the world’s first and currently only coronavirus vaccine for animals,’ Konstantin Savenkov, head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, a watchdog.
‘All the tested vaccinated animals developed antibodies to coronavirus in 100 per cent of cases,’ he claimed.
Virologist Dr Nadezhda Rakhmanina added: ‘This particular vaccine is needed, first of all, in fur farming.
It comes after Russians have been warned limit their vodka consumption after receiving the Sputnik V jab, as the country registered the world’s first vaccine for animals (stock image)
Gintsburg’s warning came as Russia registered the world’s first vaccine for animals, named Carnivac-Cov. Pictured: A rabbit receives the injection in Russia on December 9, 2020
‘Cases of mass deaths of fur-bearing animals abroad, including in Denmark, were described last year.
‘In general, fur-bearing animals are susceptible to many infectious diseases of humans, they even have a susceptibility to influenza.
‘These animals can get sick with the coronavirus en masse. So the vaccine is really needed.
However, Rakhmanina was less certain about the need for a jab for pets.
‘Over the past year, it has not been proven that pets can be a source of Covid-19 infection for humans.
‘There are isolated cases of infection in cats, which have been described and proven. But there is no mass [evidence] yet.’
Demand for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, currently among the world’s most effective, is rising in Europe and elsewhere.
The Kremlin said on Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin was in talks with France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel to discuss prospects for EU registration of the vaccine as well as shipments and joint production in EU nations.
The president, who says the vaccine is as reliable as a Kalashnikov rifle, also claimed that some countries were avoiding the Russian-made jabs for ‘political reasons’.
Speaking at the annual economic conference in St Petersburg, Putin said: ‘Taking into account the efficiency of our vaccines, I know that [foreign] demand is pretty high.’
‘The domestic pharmaceutical industry is ready to further ramp up vaccine production,’ the 68-year-old added.
Kirill Dmitriyev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) which finances the vaccine, said at the forum that Russia could become open for ‘vaccine tourism’ from July.
Vladimir Putin (pictured) said that Russia’s main vaccine, Sputnik V, had already been registered in 66 countries with a combined population of more than three billion people
Russia has approved four vaccines for domestic use, of which the most widely used is Sputnik V. Administered in two doses, with a gap of 21 days between each shot, it was the world’s first Covid vaccine in August 2020.
Named after the world’s first satellite launched by the USSR in 1957, Sputnik has been touted by Putin as ‘the world’s best’ jab, while leading independent medical journal, The Lancet, deemed it effective in a study published in February.
The Kremlin said that Putin had been vaccinated in private but it is not known which of Russia’s three main jabs he had used.
Putin also took the opportunity on Friday to encourage all Russians to come forward to receive their free vaccines.
‘Every adult citizen of Russia has the opportunity to get vaccinated completely free of charge,’ Putin told the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, which is often called the Russian Davos.
‘I’d like to ask our citizens to use this opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones.’
The 68-year-old leader said that Russian authorities had not registered a single fatality linked to the coronavirus vaccine.
He reiterated that he himself had been vaccinated and that the jabs have few side effects.
‘I have first-hand knowledge of that,’ Putin said.
Putin said that Russia’s main vaccine, Sputnik V, had already been registered in 66 countries with a combined population of more than three billion people.
Russia has administered some 11.12million jabs of the virus among its more than 144.4million people but is struggling to combat high levels of vaccine hesitancy.