MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities on Friday reported a record number of coronavirus deaths for the third day in a row.
Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 1,254 virus deaths, up 1,251 on Thursday and 1,247 on Wednesday.
The task force also reported 37,156 new confirmed cases. The daily new infections in recent weeks appear to have taken a downward trend but still remain higher than during previous surges of the virus.
The latest surge in infections and deaths comes amid low vaccination rates and lax public attitudes toward taking precautions. Fewer than 40% of Russia’s nearly 146 million people have been fully vaccinated, even though the country approved a domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine months before most of the world.
In total, the coronavirus task force has reported over 9.2 million confirmed infections and more than 261,000 COVID-19 deaths, by far the highest death toll in Europe.
Some experts believe the true figure is even higher. Reports by Russia’s statistical service, Rosstat, that tally coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively reveal much higher mortality. They say 462,000 people with COVID-19 died between April 2020 and September of this year.
Russian officials have said the task force only includes deaths for which COVID-19 was the main cause, and uses data from medical facilities. Rosstat uses wider criteria for counting virus-related deaths and takes its numbers from civil registry offices where registering a death is finalized.
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