What about the Coronavirus and Russia?

There are only 93 cases of the coronavirus reported for Russia (and no deaths). They have been reporting a lot less than that for a while, and 8 are reported as recovered. This is in a country of almost 147 million people.

The Russian case count from my previous posts:

17 March: 93

16 March: 63

14 March: 47

13 March: 34

11 March: 20


Muscovites do travel. I have known a number of them that have traveled to Italy (27K+ cases and counting), Germany (7K+ cases) and many other parts of Western Europe. But there are only 93 cases in Russia. Neighboring Finland has 294 cases (population 5.5 million), neighboring Estonia has 225 (population 1.3 million). Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldavia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, all former members of the Soviet Union, are each reporting between 18 and 52 cases. Only Ukraine is not reporting a lot of cases, only 7. Some of the “stans” are reporting cases, Kazakstan with 27, Uzbekistan with 10, although the other three “stans” are not reporting anything. Russia’s neighbors to the east included Mongolia, China and North Korea. China’s most northeastern province, Heilongjiang, is reporting 482 cases. So why does Russia have so few?

According to an article written on 13 March 2020, Russia had tested as of 12 March 76,963 cases. This is a particularly industrious effort and only three counties had done better (image is above). The article is here: https://ourworldindata.org/covid-testing

So, either: 1) Russia has been very good (even outstanding) at early testing, quarantining and controlling the virus, or 2) it has just managed by luck to have so far avoided Russia, or 3) the Russian figures are grossly underreported.

This entry was posted in Disease, Russia by Christopher A. Lawrence. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience. Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation. His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) and The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019) Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

5 thoughts on “What about the Coronavirus and Russia?

  1. What about Russia?

    a) Russia has a liong border with China. Not clear whether the closure was early enough. But we can in principle forget this issue.

    b) Russia has an exchange of people with former Asian Soviet Republics, these with Iran.

    c) There were many thousand Russian tourists in the Italian and Austrian parts of Tyrol, hot spots of infection. Almost all of the Swedish and Danish cases (~2000) come from these regions.

    -> Russia has very likely many thousands /ten thousands of infected people.

    If they have identified only ~100 with 70.000 tests, the Russian government consists either of incompetent morons, i.e. they cannot organise a piss in a brewery, or they are simply lying. My bet is the letter.

    A large scale testing requires a broad civilian lab infrastructure, there is no indication that this exists. Otherwise you would e.g. see papers from Russina labs in journals of molecular biology or related fields.

  2. David Hackett Fischer in Paul Revere’s Ride was relating the speed of which towns were alerted of the British coming by how far they were from Boston.

    But given the somewhat Brownian motion of the numerous riders some distant towns were alerted quickly and some adjacent towns very late. It doesn’t matter how much travel there is between countries. What matters is how many infected people travel, where they happened to go, and how many people they would meet up with.

    You would expect the results to have some outliers. Russia and Italy are outliers in different directions.

    • “You would expect the results to have some outliers. Russia and Italy are outliers in different directions.”

      Yes, the Italians do not lie as much as the Russians.

  3. Sorry, DHF specifically related the progress of the riders to the spread of disease in epidemiological studios. The reference wasn’t random.

  4. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/03/18/russia-says-it-has-very-few-coronavirus-cases-the-numbers-dont-tell-the-full-story-a69661

    But at least one concern has been raised by medical experts in recent days over the fact that the test, which detects the virus by replicating DNA using a primer that fits coronavirus DNA, is not sensitive enough to accurately register positive tests. According to the Moscow-based PCR News website, which reports on medicine, Vektor’s kit uses a cycle total of 10 to the fifth power per millimeter to register a positive test.

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