Russia is not “facing a new spike” of its Chinese coronavirus caseload, a Russian state health authority insisted Wednesday, the same day that Russia recorded its highest daily rate of new coronavirus cases since March 7.
“Russia has documented 10,407 COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] cases in the past 24 hours, the highest daily figure since March 7, 2021, bringing the total case count to 5,156,250,” Russia’s federal anti-coronavirus crisis center told reporters on June 9, according to the Russian state-run news agency TASS.
“It is incorrect to conclude that we are facing a new spike,” Natalia Pshenichnaya, the deputy director of Russia’s Central Research Institute of Epidemiology (CRIE), said in a statement to the press on June 9.
“However, many people continue to ignore safety measures, fail to comprehend the need for vaccination and [thus] facilitate the spread of the virus among the population,” she said. “We do not see compliance with safety rules in public transport, at businesses, or public places often. If these circumstances remain, then periodic incidence increases will be observed both now and in the future.”
Pshenichnaya added that “rainy, cool weather currently observed in Russia” may be facilitating the “circulation of various respiratory viruses” within the country, including the Chinese coronavirus.
“[I]ncidence spikes are natural” during “the stabilization process” of Russia’s coronavirus caseload, the CRIE director said.
“[H]owever, the transition to the recession stage depends on the responsibility of the citizens,” Pshenichnaya added.
“I am certain that nobody doubts the efficiency of prevention measures against COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] and other respiratory diseases, but it is not enough at all,” she said. “These measures must be complied with regularly; and, of course, it is necessary to comprehend the importance of mass vaccination for the prompt end of the pandemic, and to personally contribute to moving this point closer.”
While Pshenichnaya seemed to provide mixed messages about the state of Russia’s coronavirus caseload Wednesday, Yevgeny Danchikov, the head of the Moscow’s Main Control Directorate, told reporters on June 9 that “Moscow’s coronavirus situation is deteriorating.”
Moscow, Russia’s national capital, recorded 4,124 new coronavirus infections on June 8. The figure was the city’s highest daily case rate of the disease since January 16, according to Russia’s federal anti-coronavirus crisis center. Moscow is Russia’s largest city, home to nearly 12.6 million people. Russia has a total population of about 126 million.
Yevgeny Timakov, a Russian pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases and vaccinology, told TASS on June 9 that “the epidemiological situation [in Russia] is not stabilizing,” referring to the country’s coronavirus caseload. Timakov said he blamed “the unwillingness of citizens to vaccinate themselves and to protect themselves against the virus” as one of the causes of Russia’s new infection spike.
Russia approved its state-made Chinese coronavirus vaccine candidate Sputnik V for emergency use in the country in August 2020 before the shot had completed late-stage clinical trials. The Lancet medical journal published a study of Sputnik V’s late-stage clinical trials in February 2021 concluding the shot was 92 percent effective against the Chinese coronavirus. A group of international scientists published an open letter to the Lancet in May, however, criticizing the research used to produce the study as containing “data discrepancies” and “numerical inconsistencies.”