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COVID-19 Deaths In Russia Hit New Monthly High In July

Health-care workers check on a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at Moscow's Sklifosovsky Research Institute for Emergency Medicine earlier this month.

More than 50,000 people who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 died in Russia during the month of July, setting a new monthly high, Russia’s government statistics agency said on August 28.

Rosstat said 50,421 people with COVID-19 died during the month, but only 38,992 deaths were directly attributed to the disease.

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In about 5,200 deaths the virus was assessed as likely the main cause, but more investigation would be needed; in about 1,500 other cases, the virus contributed to the deaths but was not the main cause.

Rosstat said the remaining approximate 4,800 deaths of infected people were not connected to the virus.

Rosstat, which keeps a separate count from the national pandemic task force, said the total of virus-related deaths in Russia by the end of July was 215,265. The coronavirus task force has reported 180,840 deaths.

Russian officials have attributed the differences to different counting methods, saying the task force only includes deaths in which COVID-19 was the main cause.

Officials also say the task force uses data from medical facilities, while Rosstat takes its numbers from civil registry offices.

Russia’s vaccination drive against COVID-19 has lagged behind other nations. As of mid-August, less than one-quarter of the country’s 146 million people had received at least one vaccine dose, while 30 percent had been fully vaccinated.

Since June, authorities in more than half of Russian regions have made vaccines mandatory for certain groups of workers.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Russian Service and AP