According to one of Russia’s leading politicians, the death toll from Covid-19 could be three times higher than previously thought.
New data released by the Russian statistical agency Rosstat on Monday showed that the number of deaths due to all causes increased by 229,700 between January and November compared to the same period last year.
After the figures were released, the Russian Interfax agency, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, is quoted as saying that more than 81 percent of this increase in mortality during this period is due to Covid-19 and the effects of the disease. .
That means the death toll is at least 186,000, or about three times more than previously reported. It would also give Russia the third highest Covid-19 death toll in the world.
The country’s official death toll, reported daily by the government’s coronavirus crisis center, stands at 55,827 as of Tuesday.
It was previously questioned too low by some observers, as Russia has the fourth largest case load in the world, behind the US, India and Brazil, but its death toll is significantly lower than in the three countries.
Russia has so far remained out of a nationwide exclusion, despite reports of hospitals across the country struggling with the influx of Covid-19 patients, as the Kremlin hopes the rollout of its Sputnik V vaccine will bring the epidemic under control.
Elsewhere, while the number of people getting Covid-19 vaccines continues to grow, the world is once again looking at the first people in the world to get Covid-19 vaccine.
The first two patients in the UK to receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, Margaret Keenan and William Shakespeare, were expected to receive their second doses on Tuesday to gain full immunity.
Keenan and Shakespeare received unprecedented publicity earlier this month when Britain became the first nation to develop a clinically approved Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the UK on Monday reported a record number of the new Covid-19 cases, which pulled to the top 40,000 as the UK government struggles to contain the new variant of the virus which scientists say is 70 per cent more transmissible .
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Over the weekend, the European Union launched a mass vaccination effort aimed at getting its 450 million citizens vaccinated as soon as possible, with health workers and residents of care homes across the block.
But there was already a bit of a hiccup along the way.
In northern Germany, eight workers in a parental home received five times the recommended dose of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, authorities in the district of Vorpommern-Rugen said in an online statement on Monday.
Four have since been admitted to hospital as a precaution for observation after showing flu-like symptoms.
“I deeply regret the incident,” District Administrator Stefan Kerth said in the statement. “This individual case is due to individual errors.”
NBC News contacted Pfizer for further comment.
The incident came after some German districts refused to use vaccines received over the weekend because they suspected cold conditions were interrupted during childbirth. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be stored at ultra-low temperatures to be viable.
Meanwhile, China, where the virus first appeared nearly a year ago, reported seven new cases of coronavirus infection in the capital Beijing, where authorities have ordered hundreds of thousands of residents to be tested.
City authorities have already urged residents not to leave the city during the upcoming lunar New Year holiday. China, which has so far reported much smaller and deaths than many other countries, has canceled major events such as sporting events and temple shows. Cinemas, libraries and museums operate with 75 percent capacity. The government is also discouraging business travel.
The virus also raises new concerns in South Korea, where another 40 coronavirus patients have died in the past 24 hours, the highest daily number since the pandemic began.
South Korea’s previous daily high for deaths in Covid-19 was 24, reported on December 21 as well as December 22.
Some observers believe that increasing mortality reflects an increase in tuberculosis infections in nursing homes and long-term care centers where older people with underlying health problems live.
Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report.
Tatyana Chistikova contributed.