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COVID19 Cases Surge Again in Russia

Virologists say that the #Delta variant, first found in India, is now the most prevalent #coronavirus strain in Moscow. The mayor says that 89.3% of all new #COVID19 cases in the city involve the Delta variant.

The Russian government has approved three coronavirus vaccines as safe and effective, but Vadim Zhukov took his own approach to testing: He let a friend take one first.

“I waited to see what happened to him,” said Mr. Zhukov, 21, a university student. His friend was fine. Two months later, Mr. Zhukov was standing in line this week at a vaccination site in central Moscow.

Extrapolated across Russia’s 11 time zones and millions of hesitant citizens, that same wait-and-see attitude toward vaccination has taken its toll.

Russia is again in the grips of a virus surge, despite months of assurances from President Vladimir V. Putin’s government that the worst of the pandemic had passed. The spiraling outbreak has come as a surprise, even in the words of the senior officials behind those assurances.

Russian virologists say that the Delta variant, first found in India, is now the most prevalent strain in Moscow. The mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, told local media on Friday that 89.3 percent of all new coronavirus cases in the city involve the Delta variant.

Quickly rising case numbers put Russia at risk of following in the path of other countries such as India that seemed to have squelched infections only to see a resurgence.

The outbreak is most pronounced in Moscow, the capital, where case numbers have tripled over the past two weeks, according to city officials, who have added 5,000 beds to coronavirus wards. Moscow health authorities reported 9,056 positive tests on Friday, the highest daily figure for the city since the pandemic began.

Russia has reported 125,853 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic started, but statistics showing excess mortality over the past year suggest the real number is far higher.

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