While the U.S. has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, Russia now has the most confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection in Europe and those charged with treating people who are suffering as a result of the disease are dying as a result of exposure. Per a report from The New York Times, citing a memorial web site honoring health care workers who have died after becoming infected, at least 180 doctors, nurses, paramedics, and others have succumbed to the virus.
However, many more have been infected.
A department head at one of Moscow's top hospitals told the Times that 75 percent of their department's staff was sick. Meanwhile, St. Petersburg Gov. Alexander Beglov said on Wednesday that 1,465 health care workers in his city have become infected, which accounts for more than one in six of St. Petersburg's confirmed cases. Hospitals have been similarly affected across the nation, according to Russia's health minister Mikhail Murashko.
Murashko said on Wednesday that some 400 Russian hospitals had suffered coronavirus outbreaks. Per The New York Times' report, medical workers in the country have faced issues common to hospitals that are attempting to combat the virus around the world, including a shortage of personal protective equipment. Health care workers have also criticized the Russian government's preparedness and response to the pandemic, as well as that of their hospital's administrators.
Whatever the cause, a seemingly disproportionate number of health care workers in Russia have died following exposure to the virus. As shared by The New York Times, at least 275 health and social care workers have died in the United Kingdom, for example. However, that total is out of approximately 30,000 deaths -- an exponentially higher death toll than that of Russia at this juncture.
On the whole, Russia has become the new epicenter of the pandemic in Europe. Per a Thursday report by The Moscow Times, Russia confirmed nearly 10,000 new coronavirus infections on May 14. As a result, the country's grand total eclipsed the 250,000 mark. That figure ranks second worldwide, trailing just the U.S. in total case numbers.
There have also been a reported 2,305 deaths related to COVID-19 since the crisis began.
Nevertheless, Russian President Vladimir Putin seemingly shares U.S. President Donald Trump's enthusiasm for reopening, having ordered an end to a nationwide lockdown in his own country earlier this week.For his part, Trump has sought to aid Putin and Russia as the pandemic takes hold in the nation. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the president recently announced that his administration had come to terms on a deal to send ventilators to Russia following a phone call with Putin. Trump critics have derided the president's move to aid Russia, citing continued shortages with U.S. borders.