Russia and COVID

It wasn’t that long ago that some people were claiming that totalitarian/authoritarians were better at handling COVID-19. That came from counting China and Singapore as such and ignoring South Korea. But a bigger one was basically taking unbelievable numbers at face value: Iran being lower than Italy, Russia only having a single case at the time, India having none.

Yesterday the top three countries reporting new cases are:

  1. United States: 24,409 new cases
  2. Russia: 6,411 new cases
  3. Brazil: 6,398 new cases

They all have something in common. Nominal democracy or not, it seems the virus doesn’t care your politics, but it thrives when denial/lies cripple the response.

For well over a month, I’ve been waiting for Russia’s numbers to be in line with reality and that is starting to happen as the number of cases and deaths are becoming too great to categorize them as "pneumonia."

Russia just passed China’s totals and is now having record-setting infections and deaths. And remember when Putin sent a planeload of PPE to Trump? Well now he’s run out of PPE. The crazy thing was that was the beginning of this same month. I wonder how that stuff plays in Moscow now? Probably about as well as when Americans realized the United States sent 18 tons of PPE to China back in February. While Putin’s pathetic planeload was just a publicity stunt, Trump really shouldn’t be faulted for February, it was not replacing that, and doing far worse in that month and the months following.

I want to juxtapose that reality with this Reuters poll on "should the economy and business open even if the virus is not fully contained?" spells further disaster for Russia as it ranks #1 among countries (60%) compared to the 23-50% among western nations. I imagine Russia’s number is so high because their economy is in the toilet after Putin crashed the oil market. Nonetheless, this probably means their lockdown isn’t working despite the draconian punishment they are doing.

(Despite, all these astroturf "protests" in the United States, the U.S. is only at 35%. That number is probably a local peak as the U.S. is opening up in states that have regions of some of the highest new infection rates in the country. We won’t have to wait the requisite two weeks to call that experiment a failure.)

Guess that’s what happens when you are the world’s proponent for calling a pandemic "fake news." You end up getting high on your own supply when the virus hits you.

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