Russia’s death toll from Covid-19 could be three times higher than previously thought, according to one of the country’s leading politicians.
New data released Monday by the Russian statistics agency Rosstat showed that the number of deaths from all causes from January to November had risen by 229,700 compared to the same period last year.
After the figures were released, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova was quoted by Russia’s Interfax agency as saying more than 81 percent of the increase was due to Covid-19 and consequences of the disease.
That means the virus-associated death toll is at least 186,000, or about three times previously reported. It would also give Russia the third-highest Covid-19 death toll in the world.
The country’s official death toll, reported on a cumulative daily basis by the government’s coronavirus crisis center, stood at 55,827 on Tuesday.
The number of deaths has previously been questioned, as Russia has the fourth-largest caseload in the world, behind the U.S., India and Brazil, but its official death toll is substantially lower than in those three countries.
Russia has so far stayed clear of a nationwide lockdown despite reports that hospitals around the country are struggling with the influx of patients, as the Kremlin hopes that the rollout of its Sputnik V vaccine will bring the epidemic under control.