Russia records about 463,000 excess deaths in pandemic -Reuters calculations

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A medical specialist wearing protective gear transports a person on a stretcher at a hospital for patients infected with COVID-19, on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia July 2, 2021. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

MOSCOW, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Russia recorded around 463,000 excess deaths from April 2020 to June this year during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Reuters calculations based on data released by the state statistics service on Friday.

Some epidemiologists say excess deaths are the best way to measure the real death toll from COVID-19. Russia's coronavirus task force has confirmed a toll of 163,301 related deaths since the pandemic began.

Excess deaths are typically defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time periods. Reuters based its calculations on a comparison with the annual average of deaths in 2015-19 calculated on a monthly basis.

Rosstat, the statistics agency, keeps a separate count from the task force and says it recorded around 315,000 deaths related to COVID-19 between last April and June this year. Data showed that 27,118 people had died from COVID-19 or related causes in June.

Russia experienced a surge in coronavirus cases in June and July. Authorities blamed the more contagious Delta variant of the virus and the population's reluctance to get vaccinated despite shots being widely available.

The number of new daily infections has started to ease in recent weeks, but the number of daily deaths related to COVID-19 has remained near the record daily tally of 799, recorded on three separate occasions.

The coronavirus task force reported 22,660 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and 792 deaths. Russia has recorded more than 6.4 million cases nationwide since the start of the pandemic.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Maria Tsvetkova; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, William Maclean

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