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Russia's low virus death toll still raises questions in West

SeattlePI.com Sunday, 14 June 2020
MOSCOW (AP) — When Leonid Shlykov's father, Sergei, died in a Moscow hospital last month after 11 days on a ventilator, the death certificate listed the coronavirus as an underlying condition but not the actual cause of death.

“Yes, he was suffering from impaired kidney function and diabetes, but if it hadn’t been for COVID-19, he would’ve been alive,” the son wrote on Facebook. “If we had known the real number of infections and deaths … it would have helped us make the decision to hospitalize (dad) earlier.”

The way Russia counts fatalities during the coronavirus pandemic could be one reason why its official death toll of 6,829 is far below many other countries, even as it has reported 520,000 infections, behind only the United States and Brazil.

The paradox also has led to allegations by critics and Western media that Russian authorities might have falsified the numbers for political purposes to play down the scale of the outbreak. Even a top World Health Organization official said the low number of deaths in Russia “certainly is unusual.”

Russian authorities have bristled at the suggestions.

“We have never manipulated the official statistics,” said Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova.

Finding the true numbers during the pandemic is difficult, since countries count cases and deaths in different ways and testing for the virus is uneven.

Still, several factors could contribute to Russia's low virus mortality rate, including the way it counts deaths, a tendency among some officials to embellish statistics, its vast geography and the shorter life expectancy of its population.

An autopsy is mandatory in Russia in every confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, with a determination on the cause of death made by a commission of specialists, said...
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Related news from verified sources

Russia's low virus death toll still raises questions in West

MOSCOW (AP) — When Leonid Shlykov's father, Sergei, died in a Moscow hospital last month after 11 days on a ventilator, the death certificate listed the...
SeattlePI.com

Russia’s low virus death toll still raises questions in West

MOSCOW (AP) — When Leonid Shlykov’s father, Sergei, died in a Moscow hospital last month after 11 days on a ventilator, the death certificate listed the...
Seattle Times


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