Russia admits COVID-19 death toll is three times higher than reported

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Russia has admitted its COVID-19 death toll is three times higher than previously reported — making it the country with the third-largest number of fatalities from the pandemic.

Experts have long doubted President Vladimir Putin’s repeated claims of a low death rate from the virus, which he boasted showed Russia was doing a “better” job at managing the crisis than western countries.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova on Monday finally proved the critics right as she revealed the true death toll was likely 186,000 — not the 55,000 officially reported.

Golikova made the revelation after the Rosstat statistics agency said that deaths between January and November had risen by 229,700 compared to the previous year.

“More than 81 percent of this increase in mortality over this period is due to COVID,” Golikova said, according to Agence France-Presse.

The new figure means the country’s death toll is the third highest in the world, behind the US with more than 335,000 dead and just behind Brazil with 191,000, Johns Hopkins University data shows.

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Medical workers wearing protective equipment treat patients infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus at the intensive care ward of Moscow’s K+31 private hospital.

Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

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A man walks past a makeshift memorial for medical workers who died from the COVID-19 in Saint Petersburg.

Olga Maltseva/AFP via Getty Images

Anton Kotyakov introduced as Russia's Labour and Social Protection Minister

Anton Kotyakov introduced as Russia's Labour and Social Protection Minister

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova

Mikhail Japaridze/TASS via Getty Images

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So far, Russia has only let on to having almost 3.1 million confirmed infections among its population of 144 million.

Putin, 68, recently made clear that he now plans to get his country’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, a month after saying he would not get the shot.

With Post wires

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