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Russia's COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 225,000, Putting It Third-Highest Globally

A man receives a dose of the Sputnik V vaccine in a carriage of a medical train at a railway station in the town of Tulun in the Irkutsk region on March 16. As of last week, less than 5 percent of the Russian population had been vaccinated.

The number of Russians who have died from the coronavirus has surpassed 225,000, the nation’s statistics agency reported on April 2.

The data published by Rosstat covers the 11-month period from April 2020 through February 2021.

The figure puts Russia third globally for the most coronavirus-related deaths after the United States and Brazil, which have reported 553,000 and 325,000 fatalities, respectively, from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The Rosstat death toll is more than double the widely reported fatality figure provided by the Russian government's coronavirus task force and which is used by John Hopkins. That figure, which now stands at 99,000, does not take into account deaths that are determined at a later date following an autopsy to have been coronavirus-related.

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The Rosstat data released on April 2 shows that 29,493 more Russians died in February compared with the same month last year, a possible reflection of the monthly coronavirus death toll.

February had one more calendar day last year compared with this year.

Russia is one of the few countries that has developed a vaccination proven to be highly effective at preventing the coronavirus, putting it in a good position to slow its own death toll.

However, many of its citizens have been hesitant to receive a shot of the home-grown Sputnik V vaccine.

As of last week, less than 5 percent of the Russian population had been vaccinated.

Some have blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the vaccine's slow acceptance inside the country.

The Kremlin said Putin received his vaccination on March 23, months after the start of the rollout and behind closed doors.

Global coronavirus statistics are murky and some countries, such as China and Iran, are believed to be underreporting deaths.

China, where the coronavirus pandemic originated, has officially reported less than 5,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

News agencies last year reported that crematories in some cities in China, the world’s largest country by population, were so busy due to the pandemic that they were operating around the clock.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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