Fired demographer warns of record deaths in Russia from coronavirus

Posted by on Oct 21, 2020, Under: News

The data on the number of deaths from coronavirus in Russia, which is published by the operational headquarters, “need to be multiplied by three,” former Rosstat demographer Alexei Raksha said in an interview with Bloomberg.

According to him, the mortality rate is underestimated in official daily statistics. At the same time, Rosstat publishes full figures, but with a large time lag.

In early October, data for August became available, according to which Covid-19 was the leading cause of death in 3,863 people. This is 1.2 times more than in the reports of the headquarters (3241 deaths).

If we add those in whom Covid was identified, but not named the main cause of death, then the excess over the data of the headquarters is already 2.3 times. According to Rosstat, 7463 people died.

A similar picture is drawn in each month of the pandemic. At the end of July, the headquarters recorded 4522 deaths, and Rosstat – 10371. Of these, 6084 people Coivd was named the main cause of death, and in the rest it was revealed, but the death was explained by other reasons.

In June, the headquarters reported 4681 deaths, and Rosstat identified 12,335 cases, including 7,317 with the “main cause” in the form of Covid.

In May and April, the headquarters reported 3686 and 1145 deaths, while Rosstat saw 12669 and 2825, including 7063 and 1148 cases, respectively, with the “main cause of death” in the form of Covid.

In total, for April-August, Rosstat recorded almost 46 thousand deaths from coronavirus, which is twice the daily statistics of the headquarters, Bloomberg notes.

At the same time, the total excess mortality (the excess of the number of deaths over last year) reached 115 thousand people, which in proportion to the population brings Russia closer to the indicators of Spain and Great Britain, says Raksha.

“There is a risk that excess mortality in Russia per capita will be the highest in Europe,” he adds.

According to Raksha, Rosstat collects data on mortality on a daily basis and sends it to the government in the form of a classified report. The data is released to the general public with a monthly lag, with the publication taking place late on Friday evening so that as few people as possible pay attention.

Raksha worked for Rosstat for 6 years, but was forced to leave in July after criticizing coronavirus statistics and giving interviews to The New York Times and The Moscow Times, which sparked outrage and accusations from Russian officials. According to the demographer, he was offered to resign “of his own free will.”

Earlier, experts from the World Health Organization noted the discrepancy between excess mortality in Russia and official data on victims of the coronavirus. The WHO assumed that the problem is probably related to the fact that Rosstat publishes statistics with a delay of one month.

A spokesman for Rosstat explained to Bloomberg that the department does not publish the number of deaths every day, because it does not want to “create confusion” by presenting unverified data.