Russian medics are 16 times more likely to die from the coronavirus than healthcare professionals in countries with similarly high Covid-19 numbers, the Mediazona news website reported Tuesday.
Russia does not officially publish a separate count of medical professionals who have died from the virus. Since last month, the country’s doctors have been reporting their colleagues’ deaths in an unofficial tally.
Nearly 7% of Russia’s coronavirus deaths, or one out of every 15 people, have been among medics, according to Mediazona’s comparison of Monday’s officially reported death toll of 2,722 and the 186 medics the news website said had died directly from Covid-19.
Two-thirds of the medics died in Moscow and the Moscow region, St. Petersburg and the republic of Dagestan. Paramedics and nurses accounted for half of the victims, the analysis said.
“This is 16 times more than in the six countries where the epidemic has reached a comparable scale,” the outlet wrote.
Iran stands a distant second with 1.59% of its medical professionals dying from Covid-19, according to Mediazona’s analysis. Fewer than 1% of medics have died in Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain and Germany.
Mediazona gave two possible explanations for the high Covid-19 death toll among Russian medics: a shortage of personal protective equipment or a higher-than-officially-confirmed death toll among the general population. The outlet published its data amid mounting questions over Russia’s low coronavirus death rate compared to other countries with high Covid-19 case numbers.
Russia has the world’s second-highest number of coronavirus cases with nearly 300,000 as of Tuesday, and a death rate of 1.88 per 100,000 Russians. In the U.S., that figure is 27.61 per 100,000 Americans, while Britain’s death rate sits at 52.45 per 100,000 people.
Authorities have denied under-reporting the numbers, saying that it was able to learn lessons from the experiences of western Europe since the pandemic came later to Russia. Russia counts deaths of coronavirus-positive patients toward its total if pathologists say the virus directly caused their deaths.