Russia’s Own Testing Data Shows Moscow’s Draconian Lockdown Is Not Warranted
60% of the newly tested are completely asymptomatic and few of the rest are serious cases
Russia’s coronavirus situation on morning of April 22.
Russia detected 5,236 new coronavirus carriers yesterday. That is substantially less than yesterday. But this is not the story. It really should not matter that much how many new cases the Russians are able to dig up, because the big story is that according to Russia’s own statistics upwards of 60% of those infected don’t get sick and are asymptomatic:
“In recent days, the daily increase in confirmed cases of coronavirus in Moscow is more than 2.5 thousand. However, this trend is associated with an increase in the number of daily tests and indicates an improvement in the quality of diagnosis.
Moreover, if a week ago about 40% of all cases in Moscow had no symptoms, today 60% of cases are asymptomatic virus carriers. And the main task is to isolate them in order to minimize the spread of infection, “the headquarters said.
What is really happening is that Russia is is the only major European country aside from Germany to be aggressively testing asymptomatics. That makes for a high infected tally, now at over 50,000, but a very small proportion of those are serious cases, as few as 700 according to Worldometer.
When one reads Russia’s coronavirus statistics it is of utmost importance to understand that they do not lend themselves to a comparison with almost any country in the world, except perhaps Germany. The reason is that practically all countries test only people who are so ill that they have been admitted to a hospital, or in some cases tested by clinics. Most countries outright refuse testing for people who do not seem to be in a severe condition; this is the case with for example the UK and also the relatively mildly affected and prosperous Finland.
Russia, on the contrary, has poured such vast resources into the testing system that they have been able to do grand scale tracking down of people who have been known to contact with a previously positive testing person. South Korea and Singapore are also known to do it, as well as above mentioned Germany. Russia has identified an enormous amount of infected people who are either totally asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms.
Russia has of all countries performed the second biggest amount of tests in absolute terms. Russia is also among the top in a per capita comparison of number of tests, and the absolute leader of tests per identified cases and in particular identified sick patients.
This should also answer the media conundrum of why Germany and Russia have so small fatality rates. It’s simple, they identify people that have the virus but are not sick.
Today we have fresh data in from Sweden, which shows that the Swedish-Belarussian non-lockdown strategy seems to be the best response. Stockholm is now about to quickly acquire herd immunity. A fresh study based on random testing shows that 600,000 or one-third of Stockholm county’s population have had the corona infection. They had no symptoms or so little they did not even know they had it. Some 1,500 died, mortality 0.25%. In tough competition, the seasonal flu is still leading. 0.25% is share of those infected, the mortality to the whole population would be 0.015%, which would make the seasonal flu win hands down.
I have earlier written from the point of view of what are Russia’s real statistics and what has been Russia’s preparedness to fight the epidemic. My point was to refute the Western propaganda about things being bad in Russia in these respects. It should now be clear to anybody that from this point of view Russia’s response has been the best in the world and there are absolutely no problems when it comes to these issues, and absolutely no risk of any kind of catastrophic scenario.
Instead, the problem is now the opposite: Russia’s extremely overblown and hysteric response strategy in view of the by now much better understanding of the virus and its effects, Russia’s own statistics and the reports which are coming in from all over the world.
After the initial strong actions, Russia’s response, and especially that of Moscow, is turning into a total catastrophe for the economy and a totalitarian repression of people, which nobody could have imagined possible in a country that has experienced Stalin’s gulags and the Siege of Leningrad.
The situation is especially dire in Moscow, which Mayor Sobyanin has turned into a veritable cybergulag. Sobyanin has ordered all people to lock themselves up in their homes – for over 3 weeks already – without allowing people even to go out for walks or cure themselves in the sun. In this insane regime, kids are not even let go out to play.
At the same time, some 3 million people are anyway allowed to go to work. But because that could seem too good, Sobyanin invented a totally unnecessary system of requiring residents to get digital passports in order to take their cars or access public transport to get to work. Perhaps, 5% fewer people will by this method be prevented from going on their important errands. So, this system brings absolutely nothing of value from point of view of infection prevention. Instead, it is a gigantic exercise in bureaucratic excess and wanton repression of people.
Just spoke with colleague from Tver, a city of half a million 200 km from Moscow North-West towards Saint Petersburg….
At the same time, Sobyanin has not mandated the use of facemasks, which could be the only useful prevention measure.
There is absolutely no justification for Sobyanin’s cybergulag-style repression. And people are getting really furious at the Moscow government, and that’s something that may soon contaminate the president, too.
Tellingly, liberal control freaks like German Gref, the technocrat CEO of Russia’s state monopoly Sberbank — who entertains a Dr. Strangelovian fascination for artificial intelligence and elite rule over the masses — are now experiencing a sugar rush as they foam at the mouth praising this newly established cybergulag.
Governments should not brag with and show off their totalitarian technologies the way Sobyanin is.
Interesting that Lukashenko of Belarus, who is called “Europe’s last dictator” by the EU and its media, is the only leader (in addition to the Swedes, known for their nanny government), who did not place the entire population in house arrest. What a dictator! It will be interesting to compare Sobyanin’s (Moscow) corona response with Lukashenko’s (Belarus), when solid figures should be in by the end of May. It could turn out quite embarrassing for Sobyanin who destroyed the economy and jailed the people.
Best global practices have shown, that the way out of the epidemic, would be to provide reasonable protection to the elderly, provide enormous protection to hospitals, nursery homes, and other such institutions, while letting the largely non-harmful virus spread among kids and adults.
If Putin does not understand this soon, then Russia is set for a major catastrophe.