MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia saw the highest monthly coronavirus death toll of the pandemic in July, with 50,421 people dying from COVID-19 or related causes during the month, state statistic service Rosstat said on Friday.
The death toll exceeded the number of coronavirus deaths in December, hitherto the deadliest month of the pandemic in Russia.
Russian authorities blame the spread of the more contagious Delta variant and a low vaccination rate for the third wave of coronavirus infections, which peaked in July.
Moscow’s city hall also reported the worst COVID-19 death toll in July, when the mortality rate in the city was 70% higher than before the pandemic in 2019.
Overall, Russia recorded around 365,000 deaths related to COVID-19 between April 2020 and July, data from Rosstat showed.
The number exceeds the official total death toll of around 180,000, published by the Russian coronavirus task force earlier on Friday.
Some epidemiologists say that measuring excess mortality is the best way to assess the death toll during a pandemic. Based on the new data, Reuters calculated that the number of excess deaths in Russia between April 2020 and July had reached 528,000 in comparison to the average mortality rate in 2015-2019.