Even if you can see Russia from your home, you may not want to go there now. That’s because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just “flatten” Russia and three other destinations in a bad way. They are now Level 4 on the CDC’s Covid-19 travel recommendations.
CDC levels such as golf scores or the number of times you accidentally hit your face with a frying pan. The lower the number, the better. Level 4 is the highest of the four levels. This means that the risk of Covid-19 in that particular destination is currently “extremely high” and that you should avoid traveling there, regardless of whether or not you’ve been vaccinated. In other words, it’s a “not going there” level.
Belgium, Burkina Faso and Slovakia were the other three destinations that will move from level 3 to level 4 on Monday. As I covered earlier this month for Forbes, the destination moves from level 3 to level 4 when the number of reported Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days rises from the range 100 to 500 and even above 500. To put things in perspective, 28 days is just a little more than two of Scaramuccis, and that’s not much time. Level 3 means the risk of Covid-19 is “high” without “severe” in front of it. While the CDC warns people who are not immunized against traveling to Level 3 destinations, it is urging everyone not to travel non-essentially to Level 4 destinations. So you may want to postpone your plans to go to Heuvelland, Belgium, in order to use a vending machine Potatoes, because there are, after all, other ways to get potatoes.
Russia’s relationship with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) throughout the pandemic has been epic. It certainly wasn’t a romantic comedy or even a romantic comedy. Early on during the Covid-19 pandemic, rather than taking the necessary measures to contain the virus, the Russian government instead downplayed the importance, spread and impact of the virus. Unlike some political leaders, SARS-CoV-2 did not care what was said about it and continued to spread. (Does such a situation in 2020 sound vaguely familiar?)
In the end, Russian President Vladimir Putin had to admit that the virus was a problem, as Andrew Higgins described on April 10, 2020, The New York Times An article titled, “After Months of Denial, Russia Admits Virus Is Waiting.” However, over the next few months, Putin claimed that Russia was “steadily emerging from the coronavirus situation with minimal losses,” as Holly Eliat reported in June 2020 on CNBC. He also criticized the United States for putting “the interests of the party above the interests of the people” and then criticized the US President and current Mar-a-Lago resident Donald Trump for their lack of leadership. Of course, Russia has never “exited” from the state of coronavirus, unless you think of “there are more and more cases of Covid-19” as exit.
In the middle of 2020, the Russian government began focusing on winning the Covid-19 vaccine arms race, which in essence was getting Covid-19 vaccines into the arms race. Russia’s Aesthetics National Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology was developing a vaccine for Covid-19 called Sputnik V, named after the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. This two-dose vaccine is somewhat similar to Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccines. It uses an engineered version of adenovirus to deliver the genetic code used to make the SARS-CoV-2 protein into human cells. Unlike the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines, Sputnik V uses one adenovirus, rAd26, for the first dose, and a different one, rAd5, for the second dose.
In August 2020, Putin announced that the Ministry of Health had approved Sputnik V, making it the first country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine. But Vladimir Isachenkov and Daria Litvinova reported News agency How skeptical and uneasy about this approval were scientists around the world. After all, the vaccine has not yet completed phase I, II, and III clinical trials. Usually approval should come after such experiences rather than before, just like saying “that was delicious” should come after the food has already been cooked and eaten and not before you have sat down at the dinner table. In fact, at the time, the vaccine appeared to have been tested on only 38 people, based on a study published in scalpel. However, the Russian government began rolling out the Sputnik V vaccine in Russia shortly thereafter. At the same time, they distilled Covid-19 vaccines developed by other countries.
This tactic may backfire. It is important to be careful where you defecate. Telling people not to trust other Covid-19 vaccines while trying to force yours on them can be like telling a love interest not to trust anyone but you. Or shouting “who farted” whenever a scent appears. Increased distrust of other vaccines can lead to increased distrust of vaccines in general. Although the Sputnik vaccine eventually went through a phase of first to third clinical trials, uptake of the vaccine was not great. Russia has only fully vaccinated about a third of its population.
That’s why the recent increase in Covid-19 infections was not surprising. Infections and deaths are at record levels, according to Charles Maines NPR. Last Thursday, the number of new Covid-19 infections reported in Russia exceeded 40,000 and the number of reported deaths related to Covid-19 reached 1,159 within a 24-hour period. These could actually be an underestimate of the actual number of cases and deaths. There have been questions about the accuracy of the Russian numbers reported.
On the same day, Moscow underwent a partial lockdown for 10 days. The mayor of the Russian capital, Sergei Sobyanin, has ordered the closure of schools, restaurants, bars, cafes, salons, gyms, cinemas and auto repair shops. However, it is interesting that theaters and museums have remained open. So, if your car is in Fritz condition, maybe you can take it to a museum or sit in a nice display.
Moscow is certainly not the only place in Russia where Covid-19 measures are ramping up. Putin recently declared that October 30 through November is a “week off”. He also told district governors that they can do whatever it takes to slow the spread of the virus. This has resulted in different precautions for Covid-19 being taken in different parts of Russia.
Belgium, Burkina Faso, Russia and Slovakia weren’t the only destinations for Monday’s “up-up”. Poland moved from Level 2, or “moderate” risk of Covid-19, to Level 3. Laos was another newcomer to the Level 3 list. The country was previously in the “Unknown” level category.
The news wasn’t all bad on Monday. Two destinations, Fiji and Jamaica, are down from Level 4 to Level 3.
Of course, the situations of Covid-19 in different countries are dynamic and change over time. Similar to the United States, Russia has never controlled the spread of the virus. 8,417,305 reported cases of Covid-19 and 235,318 deaths linked to Covid-19 are the fifth highest totals in each category among all countries in the world. The number of new Covid-19 infections every day has been on the rise since mid-September. There is a good chance that Russia will remain at Level 4 for some time. In other words, the “Russian” in that part of the world is not planning any non-essential travel any time soon.