Now almost officially: Russia is in first place in the number of coronavirus victims per capita. This is the result of the actions of the authorities in the summer of 2020

Rosstat published data on mortality in Russia for 2020 on February 8. It follows from them that in the country from April to December 31, excess mortality amounted to 358 thousand people. Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova admitted that excess mortality in 2020 is 81% associated with coronavirus, without explaining what the remaining 19% are connected with. Meanwhile, according to more detailed dataDepartment of Health of Moscow, the virus is associated with 98-100% of “excess deaths”. If we assume that in fact almost all excess deaths are caused by the epidemic, it can be assumed that there were 6.3 times more deaths from coronavirus in 2020 than the 57 thousand officially reported by the authorities. This means that Russia in 2020 ranked second (after the United States) in terms of the number of coronavirus victims and entered the top five most affected per capita. And by the beginning of February, most likely, Russia came out on top in the world in terms of the number of deaths per 100 thousand population.

What information about excess mortality allows you to find out

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In 2020, more than 350 thousand people died from coronavirus in Russia. Death rate in the country increased by 18%

  • The most difficult months were November (excess mortality – 80,461 deaths) and especially December (96,012 additional deaths). 
  • The December result is more than 4.5 times higher than at the peak of the first wave of the epidemic in May. In total, since September, when the second wave of the epidemic began, more than 232 thousand people have probably died from the coronavirus in the country out of the total number of victims of the epidemic of 358 thousand.
  • At the beginning of the epidemic, Rosstat stopped publishing statistics on causes of death in the country, so we do not know exactly how mortality from coronavirus and mortality from other causes correlate. But in 2019, more often than from the virus in 2020, people died only from diseases of the circulatory system (850 624 deaths in 2019). At the same time, significantly fewer people died from neoplasms (293 630 in 2019). At the same time, the virus spread only 9 out of 12 months of the year.
  • Natural population decline (excluding migration) in 2020 amounted to more than 688 thousand people – because in addition to the increase in mortality, there was, as in all recent years, also a decrease in the birth rate. The result is comparable to the decline in population in the 1990s: in the worst since the collapse of the USSR in 2000, the decline was 958 thousand; in 2019 it was minus 317 thousand.

Russia is one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus in the world

Russia is one of the leaders in underestimating mortality from coronavirus (according to annual data, the difference between officially announced deaths from the virus and excess mortality was almost 6.3 times; December in terms of underestimating mortality was a record). 

If we assume that the excess mortality throughout the country, as in Moscow, is almost 100% due to covid, then Russia will be in second place in the absolute number of deaths associated with the epidemic, Dmitry Kobak , a researcher from the University of Tübingen , calculated . Above is only the United States, where the population is more than twice as large.

Dmitry Kobak, “Excess mortality reveals Covidʼs true toll in Russia”, Significance Magazine

In terms of deaths from the virus per 100 thousand population, Russia in 2020, according to Kobak, was also one of the leaders: a large proportion of deaths were only in Peru and several small European countries like San Marino. However, it should be borne in mind that data on excess mortality from several countries, obviously heavily affected by the epidemic, are not available (for example, there are no statistics from India).

(C)MEDUZA 2021

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