Omicron-assault – Newspaper Kommersant No. 3 (7204) from 01/12/2022

The Russian authorities are preparing for an explosive increase in the incidence against the background of the spread of the omicron strain of the coronavirus. According to Anna Popova, head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare, there may be hundreds of thousands of new cases per day. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin predicts a serious worsening of the epidemic situation in the capital within a week. And in the next month and a half, according to WHO estimates, more than half of the population of Europe will be infected with the omicron.

In Russia, there are signs of a worsening epidemiological situation, said on Tuesday the head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova during a meeting of the Presidium of the Coordination Council under the Government of the Russian Federation to combat COVID-19. “In 35 regions, the incidence rate of COVID-19 exceeds the national average. The maximum indicators also remain in the older age group: 76.3 in the country as a whole and 117.3 among the age group over 65 per 100 thousand of the population of this age, ”said Ms. Popova. She added that more and more often the omicron strain is being detected in Russia, which has already caused a twofold increase in the incidence in the United States and Europe. In our country, according to Anna Popova, 305 cases of this strain have been registered in 13 regions. Earlier, the head of the service said that people who had recently returned from abroad or had contact with them were infected. Nevertheless, on January 6, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko admitted that cases of omicron infection were also detected among Russians who did not travel abroad. So, on Tuesday, the head of Rospotrebnadzor in the Rostov region, Yevgeny Kovalev, said that the virus was found in a woman and a six-month-old child from Rostov-on-Don, who did not leave the country and did not contact those who returned from abroad.

The incidence of coronavirus in Russia has been declining since mid-December. The minimum of the fourth wave was reached on January 6 – only 15,316 infected were identified. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the country in the first week of 2022 was the lowest since June 2021. However, in the following days, the number of new cases began to grow. On January 11, the federal headquarters reported 17,525 cases per day. The dynamics are especially noticeable in the example of Moscow: on January 6, 2,357 Muscovites fell ill with COVID-19, and on January 11, 4,635 new cases of infection.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin linked the rise in new cases to the spread of omicron. The number of people infected with it in Moscow, he says, is rapidly increasing, and within 7-10 days in the capital, a significant deterioration of the situation is expected. “It is possible that we will face a more critical situation than in previous waves of morbidity, – warned the mayor. – Let’s hope for the best, but prepare for any development of the event.”