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Russia : a unique coronavirus timetable

Écrit par sur 13 mai 2020

During this coronavirus crisis Russia has followed something of an anomalous timetable compared to the rest of the world. The virus headed west from China in February, March and April, and only at the start of May did we truly see an explosion of cases in Russia. Several potential explanations to this bizarre timing, but for Rod Kiewiet, a Professor of Political Science at the California Institute of Technology, it is not too abnormal.

“That in itself is not remarkably unusual in terms of how viruses spread and break it. There will be these vast surges occurring in different areas.”

But nonetheless causes particular to Russia – geographical vastness and an incredibly sparse population. John Colarusso, Professor of Anthropology at McMaster University in Ohio.

“It’s huge geographically, similar to the way Canada is and it’s about three times the size of Canada. But like Canada it is also very sparsely populated, with its population being concentrated in certain areas.”

What is for many most bizarre about this timing is that in Russia, lockdown was introduced well over a month ago. Judy Twigg, Professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University, notes a stark rise in infections in healthcare facilities that may partially explain this.

“We are seeing the spread of the virus in healthcare facilities in Russia. So there is something of a lag because people may have contracted the virus before the lockdown restrictions were put in place, and then a week or two weeks later they are going into healthcare facilities that are not equipped with personal protective equipment, with other infection control procedures that are letting them stop the virus in its tracks among those first patients. We are seeing an alarming number of new infections among healthcare workers and other patients, and so that is what is contributing to this rolling wave of new infections.

Professor Kiewiet and Twigg also concur that, as is the case with many countries, Russia may not be publishing the true numbers, a move that may or may not be political.

“The other part of it is you don’t have cases until you start looking for them, and I think that might explain a fair amount of what is going on in Russia.”

“The reported numbers lag by quite a bit – in other words I don’t believe the numbers we are seeing either for total number of infections or total number of deaths from coronavirus.”

Despite an average daily increase of around 11,000 recorded cases per day, Vladimir Putin has said that Russia will be lifting coronavirus restrictions this week. 

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