Headed for six figures The Omicron variant is bringing Russia’s coronavirus epidemic to a tipping point, officials warn

Alexander Astafyev / Reuters / Scanpix / LETA

According to government officials, Russia’s coronavirus epidemic has reached a tipping point. On Tuesday, January 11, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, Rospotrebnadzor head Anna Popova, and Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko all raised concerns about the rapid spread of the Omicron strain during a meeting of the Presidium of the Government Coordination Council on countering COVID-19. Among other things, they warned that the daily number of new coronavirus cases in Russia could soon hit six figures. Meduza summarizes their remarks here.

Cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in 13 of Russia’s regions. Its import is mainly from the United Arab Emirates, the UK, and Turkey. In Moscow, the number of patients infected with this coronavirus strain is increasing rapidly, and there will soon be a significant spike in cases in the capital. This could happen in the next seven to ten days. In all likelihood, Moscow will be faced with a situation more critical than any previous wave. 

The outlook is pessimistic — especially in the event of non-compliance with public health requirements and failure to vaccinate the population against COVID-19. Worst-case scenario, the number of new cases in Russia per day could hit six figures. It makes sense to prepare for this, since Omicron is in fact more contagious than any previous strain. Right now, Russia is at a tipping point, where the question of how the situation will develop is being decided. 

The Omicron strain has a short incubation period and an infected person can be contagious for a day or two. Those who fall ill must stay home and employers must not let sick employees come to work. Unfortunately, it’s not true that the Omicron strain is less severe than the Delta strain. 

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