By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Russian health officials are currently reporting the second fastest growing COVID-19 outbreak in the world after the United States seeing more than 10,000 cases daily for days in a row.


As of today, the total case count is 209,688, including only 1915 deaths.

With a case fatality of less than one percent, some are asking why this number is so low. The official numbers on cases and deaths don’t seem to line up with coronavirus trends seen elsewhere.

The Moscow Times explains in this report:

While the World Health Organization has published complicated guidelines for classifying coronavirus deaths, experts complained that they arrived late in the pandemic — on April 16 — when many countries had already made their own decisions on categorization. Plus, experts said, some countries had by then already counted the bulk of their deaths.

Belgium adopted the most liberal method for classifying coronavirus deaths. To take one example, the country records coronavirus deaths in nursing homes even if the virus was only suspected in the deceased, not confirmed. Unsurprisingly, its coronavirus mortality rate is the highest in the world.

Meanwhile, Italy and the United States — as well as many European countries — automatically classify deaths as caused by the coronavirus if the deceased tested positive.

Russia falls on the more conservative end of the spectrum. The country has continued relying on its traditional method of determining the underlying cause of death that sees it carry out autopsies in up to 70% of deaths compared with about 10% in many European countries, said Sergei Timonin, a demographer with the Higher School of Economics.

According to Health Ministry guidelines, “in the absence of clinical manifestations and pathological changes, especially in the lungs” as a result of the virus, Covid-19 is not listed as the cause of death.