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World

Excess deaths in Russia from COVID-19 three times the official toll: Report

  • According to the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, more than 80% of excess deaths this year are linked to the coronavirus pandemic, which is three times the official death toll.
  • Official figures state that 55,827 people have died from contracting the coronavirus in Russia, but the excess death estimates would raise that to 186,000 people.
Published December 29, 2020

According to the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, more than 80% of excess deaths this year are linked to the coronavirus pandemic, which is three times the official death toll.

Official figures state that 55,827 people have died from contracting the coronavirus in Russia, but the excess death estimates would raise that to 186,000 people.

Golikova mentioned that the mortality rate from the virus in the first 11 months of 2020 had been 13.8% higher than the previous year, with the Russian Statistics Service (also known as Rosstat) estimating that 229,700 people have died this year.

On the basis of the Deputy Prime Minister's announcement, it can be deduced that over 186,057 deaths were both directly and indirectly attributable to the pandemic - with only the United States and Brazil reporting higher fatalities.

Why is there a discrepancy in the death toll? Russia calculates its official death statistics from the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the number of post-mortem examinations that list the virus as the main cause of death. Due to this approach, numerous deaths linked to the virus, which were not classified as the main cause of death, were not recorded in the official statistics.

Ms. Golikova remained adamant that the Russian government had always fully disclosed mortality data, stating that "I would like to draw attention to the fact that over 81% of that rise in mortality which took place in that period can be attributed to Covid-19 and the effects of the virus".

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the country's healthcare system as one of the most effective in combating the pandemic, in the world; as the country pins its hope on the success of the Sputnik V vaccine, which has yet to be approved by the European Union's Medicines Agency (EMA).

Vaccinations with the drug began in Belarus on Tuesday, with 700,000 doses being dispatched in Russia.

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