(FP) Moscow—As the coronavirus pandemic has spread, bringing nations to a halt and killing over 8,000 people in recent weeks around the globe, Russia emerged as a rare spot of calm—or perhaps indifference.
Daily life largely continued as normal, with shops, workplaces, and schools still operating, while the authorities exuded confidence, pointing to only 147 confirmed cases and zero deaths, out of more than 116,000 tests for COVID-19 in the country of about 145 million people—one of the lowest ratios among infected nations in the world. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, started an oil price war with Saudi Arabia, the global economy be damned. [...]
“People won’t go see a doctor, because many are accustomed to home remedies, and there is a deep distrust in the health system, especially outside of Moscow,” said Judy Twigg, an expert on public health in Russia at Virginia Commonwealth University. [...]
“The longer you keep things open and hold back on the social distancing side of things for fear of the economic situation, the more you are delaying an inevitable spike in the spread of the virus,” Twigg said. [...]
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