Russia's state coronavirus taskforce reported 929 additional deaths Wednesday. This is the fourth consecutive month of record-breaking COVID-19 daily deaths. The previous record of 895 deaths was set Tuesday. Russia has the highest pandemic death rate in Europe, with more than 212,000 people dying. However official data indicates that this is an underestimate.
On Wednesday, the task force reported 25133 confirmed cases.
In late September, the rise in deaths and infections began. According to the Kremlin, this was due to a lack of vaccinations in Russia. Nearly 33% of Russia’s 146 million population had at least received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by Tuesday. 29% of them were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday.
Despite the increase, government officials refrained from imposing a lockdown. They said that regional authorities would take steps in order to stop the spread of the virus.
Many Russian regions limit attendance to large public events. They also restrict access to theaters and restaurants to those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from COVID-19.
Some regions have seen signs that Russia's huge, but severely underfunded, health care system is being overwhelmed by the epidemic.
Russian media reported that ambulances were once more lining up in front of St. Petersburg hospitals. After failing to find a bed in a hospital, one ambulance crew from Vladimir, 180 km (110 miles) east, drove a COVID-19 victim to a local government building.
On Tuesday, the presidential representative in the Ural Mountains region -- which is a part central Russia that includes six regions -- stated that 95% of the COVID-19 patient beds had been filled.
Interfax quoted Vladimir Yakushev as saying, "The situation in very dire."
When reporters asked Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, if the Kremlin would support regions that impose lockdowns in their localities to combat the rise of infections, he said that the Kremlin was open to offering assistance but that they should think again. While he acknowledged that regional authorities are able to choose the measures they want to implement, he said that "declaring some type of lockdown for any region is absolutely unacceptable."
Russia's coronavirus taskforce has reported more than 7.6 million confirmed cases and 212,000 deaths. Rosstat, Russia's statistical service, has retroactively compiled much higher mortality rates from reports of coronavirus-linked deaths.