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Low death rate but one of world’s highest Covid infection rates — curious case of Russia

In episode 470 of #CutTheClutter, Shekhar Gupta looks at the surprisingly low death toll in Russia despite the country registering the highest number of cases after US.

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New Delhi: Russia has the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases after US — almost 10,000 cases have been recorded in the country everyday since 3 May. However, the death rate in Russia is surprising.

Only 2,212 people have died so far from Covid-19 in the country out of the 2,42,271 confirmed cases since the epidemic erupted. Russia’s total cases Tuesday overtook those in Spain, which has reported close to 27,000 deaths, after surpassing UK and Italy, where the death rate is also 12 times that of Russia.

The World Health Organization said Russia’s fatality rate is 0.9 per cent, which is far below the global average and the lowest among nations with the highest numbers of infections.

Spain, France and UK have fatality rates between 12 and 14 per cent.

Russia is also not as rich as other countries in Europe and even then it seems to be doing better than them. 

Also read: People living longer and healthier lives but Covid threatens to disrupt that: WHO report

Compulsory BCG vaccine programme

Russia has a compulsory BCG vaccination programme and a correlation has been found between Covid-19 mortality and BCG vaccination programme. It’s only a correlation, but perhaps this could explain Russia’s low fatality rate. 

It is also possible that Russia is fudging or hiding data, but other countries with universal BCG vaccination program like Portugal and Greece also have very low fatality rates.  

Russia has been trying a drug called favipiravir for Covid-19 patients. Sixty per cent of the 40 coronavirus patients taking tablets of favipiravir, which was first developed in Japan under the name Avigan, tested negative for the virus within five days. It said the treatment could cut coronavirus recovery time in half.

Russian data also suggests that the use of favipiravir in early stages can prevent 50 per cent of cases from becoming serious

Drug company Glenmark has begun trials for favipiravir in India with 150 patients. 

Also read: Can BCG vaccine protect against Covid-19? Here’s why the excitement needs to be tempered

Sitharaman’s second tranche of economic package

The Narendra Modi government has let down migrant workers and they are now acknowledging it. 

The government has announced that instead of 1 kg daal, the government will give 1 kg channa in ration. A lot of people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar consume channa in the form of sattu. 

It has also announced the One Nation One Ration Card scheme. Under this scheme, migrants can get ration anywhere in the country and not just in their local ration shop.

The scheme had first appeared in 2011, but like all other good ideas, UPA II shot down this one too. 

Watch the latest episode of CTC here:

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  1. What an awful article. Death rate 12-14 is utter rubbish. This is absolutely unacceptable misreporting. Check WHO data, CDC, etc. crude figure upto4-5% but best estimate sub 1%. The reason very few people who have it were tested. Shocking!

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