A survey of hundreds of Russian medics has revealed that almost 60% do not believe official figures on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in Russia to be accurate.
The poll, carried out for pan-European researchers ESOMAR, found that almost half of the 502 respondents (49%) think the authorities have underestimated cases of coronavirus infection. 47% expressed the view that the number of deaths from the disease are higher than reported.
The official sickness and death figures are trusted by 23% and 21% of doctors respectively, while nine and 11% of respondents actually think that the authorities are overstating the numbers.
More than half of the medics questioned have experience working with patients with Covid-19 symptoms. 16% of them worked directly with those infected by the coronavirus.
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“Doctors draw conclusions based on what they themselves face, for instance [things like] an increase in workload [and] the transfer of personnel to the ‘red zone,’” explained analyst Irina Osipova, from Moscow-based FOM. “If this [experience] does not correlate with the decrease in statistics, if it is not accompanied by personal experience, then mistrust arises.”
Russia also thinks differently to the European Union, Osipova told newspaper Vedomosti. She says that if a person with diabetes dies from coronavirus, it’s indicated that the patient died from diabetes, not the new illness.
The Moscow business daily also asked the Ministry for Health to comment but was told by a spokesperson that “they are not familiar with the results of the survey.”
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The Russian data is not an outlier. A feature of the pandemic has been that official numbers have been challenged around the world. For instance, in the United Kingdom, the number of ‘excess deaths’ this year has been considerably higher than London’s declared coronavirus fatalities.
With more than 700,000 reported Covid-19 cases and 10,667 deaths, the Russian coronavirus mortality rate is around 1.5%, which is well below the global average of 4.7%.
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