The top health official for the Russian republic of Dagestan says the Kremlin has vastly underreported the number of coronavirus infections and deaths in his region, with the actual death toll more than 20 times Moscow’s official figure.
In a Sunday interview with local journalist Ruslan Kurbanov, Dagestan health minister Jamaludin Hajiyibragimov said at least 13,000 people have been infected and 657 have died from COVID-19 in his region so far.
These figures are more than 20 times higher than Russia’s official figures for the region, which are 3,371 infections and 29 deaths, according to Hajiyibragimov.https://www.instagram.com/p/CAQ3vjjlJMc/embed/captioned/?cr=1&wp=1276&rd=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.businessinsider.com&rp=%2Fcoronavirus-russia-dagestan-official-death-20-times-higher-official-toll-2020-5#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A1768%7D
As of Monday, Russia has officially reported around 290,000 casesand 2,722 deaths in the entire country.
The Kremlin has been suspected of deflating its numbers of COVID-19 by various world health bodies, despite strong denials and threats of retaliation against media outlets reporting the potential discrepancy.
According to Hajiyibragimov, the reporting discrepancy is due to how authorities have determined patients’ illnesses.
Instead of COVID-19, many Russian patients have been diagnosed with the more generic-sounding “community-acquired pneumonia,” or CAP, which describes all the symptoms of a coronavirus infection but without an official virus test to determine the cause of the patient’s illness.
If the overall rate of infection and death in Russia followed the same pattern as Dagestan’s, Russia could have actually been hit by more than a million cases and already suffered more than 50,000 deaths from the pandemic.