Russia Records Highest COVID-19 Death Toll in a Day

Russia on Sunday confirmed 8,599 new coronavirus infections and 153 deaths over the past 24 hours, marking the country's highest single-day death toll of the pandemic.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova cautioned citizens this week that "the illness and chronic conditions [of coronavirus] don't always have a positive ending," as health officials warned citizens of an expected spike in mortality for the month of May.

Russia has recorded 344,481 positive cases of coronavirus to date as it has slowly become among the world's top three most infected countries, briefly trading off the second-place spot with behind the United States with Brazil this week.

Sunday's new death total is an all-time high in Russia despite a steady decrease in new cases over the past nine days.

According to Johns Hopkins University coronavirus data tallies, Russia has the second-highest number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases worldwide. Last Thursday marked the end of 12 straight days in which Russia recorded over 10,000 new cases each day. That number has now shrunk to around 9,000 each day.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told state-run news outlets that citizens should be prepared for a potential second wave of coronavirus cases to hit the country this fall even though the current COVID-19 outbreak there has stabilized. There have been 3,388 total deaths reported out of Russia since the start of the pandemic.

Russia's coronavirus response headquarters reported 150 fatalities tied to the virus on Friday and 135 two days earlier -- the country's highest daily death toll prior to this weekend.

The Kremlin on Friday announced it had carried out its first test of a coronavirus vaccine on humans at the Gamalei Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, Interfax reported. No side effects were reportedly found as a result of the vaccination test, according to the head of the medical center. Additionally, the number of recovered COVID-19 patients has hit 113,299, with 5,363 people having been discharged from Russian hospitals over the past 24 hours.

According to Russian state-run media outlet TASS, 59 people died in Moscow, 20 in Saint Petersburg and 14 in Dagestan, noting the country's highest urban concentrations of COVID-19 deaths. Residents of Dagestan have questioned the Kremlin's ability to contain the virus following a recent surge in cases in the North Caucuses region. The republic's health minister, Dzhamaludin Gadzhiibragimov, last weekend announced on a YouTube broadcast that 40 health workers had died while on duty along with 13,000 infections in the region overall.

"It wasn't a sensation at all," said Ziautdin Uvaisov of Patient Monitor, a Dagestan-based aid organization, in response to a question about whether Moscow was treating Dagestan's outbreak fairly. "People could see the dead piling up, and it long ago became clear the official statistics have no basis in reality."

moscow russia coronavirus new outbreak
Russia on Sunday confirmed 8,599 new coronavirus infections and 153 deaths over the past 24 hours, marking the country's highest single day death toll of the pandemic. DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP/Getty Images