Coronavirus in the North Caucasus: cases spike, mistrust in authorities grows
The massive denial of the pandemic is giving way to outrage and despair in the North Caucasus.
Within the last 24 hours, 428 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in the North Caucasus, bringing the total since the beginning of the epidemic to 11,548. However, few people believe that these numbers are real.
North Ossetia: not enough room in hospitals
In North Ossetia, the number of infected is rapidly increasing. Since yesterday, 93 people have contracted the virus, bringing the total to 1,253. Nine people have died.
However, the republic has also seen a sharp upturn in other statistics, namely the number of patients diagnosed with community-onset pneumonia.
The Central Republican Hospital is performing more than two hundred MRI scans a day, whereas they normally only do around 30.
Patients with coronavirus and bilateral community-onset pneumonia are hospitalized in the two largest republican hospitals. But they are already running out of beds, and people with these diagnoses are being sent to district hospitals in the Ardonsky and Prigorodny districts.
A video being shared on social networks shows several ambulances arriving in the courtyard of one of the hospitals receiving patients with coronavirus and community-onset pneumonia.
As information comes out about cases of infection among priests and in monasteries, more and more of them are being closed to visitors, such as a convent in the village of Tamisk.
On social media, people say that the abbot of the Church of the Protection of the Holy Virgin in Vladikavkaz has been hospitalized with coronavirus. The remaining priests of the church have been sent on a two-week vacation, and the temple has been closed, disinfected, and quarantined until May 16.
Authorities attribute this sharp increase in cases to the massive number of quarantine violations which occurred during an unauthorized rally in Vladikavkaz on April 20.
As of May 5, more than 150 thousand cases of coronavirus have been reported in Russia. In the last 24 hours alone, there are 10,102 new cases. Official information states that 1,451 people have died in Russia from coronavirus.
Ingushetia: there is medicine available, but only in certain pharmacies
A video is circulating around Ingush social media groups about yet another scandal at the Republican Hospital in Nazran.
A young man who lost his mother, as stated by the creators of the page, bursts into the infectious diseases department, where patients with coronavirus are treated. He filmed the ward and said that there were not enough drugs in the hospital, and that he personally bought medication for treating coronavirus.
The head of the Ingush Ministry of Health, Zarema Lyanova, said in a statement that this was a lie, and that there is enough medication available.
Official information from May 5 states that there are 966 reported cases of infection and 26 deaths.
People on social networks claim that there is enough medication in the republic, but that the heads of the Ministry of Health are only sending it to their pharmacies, and then sending their relatives there to buy it. Social network users say that this scheme has been working in Ingushetia for the past 25 years.
The distrust of the local healthcare system is so great that there are frequent attacks on healthcare facilities.
Dagestan: the risk of mass deaths
Dagestan overtook other regions of southern Russia both in terms of the number of new coronavirus cases and the overall number of cases.
As of May 5, Dagestan has reported 2,086 cases of infection, 14 of which have died.
A particularly catastrophic situation is developing in the regional centers, where they are discussing the threat of mass deaths.
On April 30, an appeal appeared on the Instagram page tut.dagestan, written on behalf of the residents of the village of Gergebil, one of the administrative centers in the republic.
“12 people have already died in our village over the past few days. Just as many are in critical condition. Almost all the villagers are sick. The hospitals are overcrowded, so many of them are still at home.
There are no diagnostic tools in hospitals, no drugs, no supplies. Everything the hospitals do have, including oxygen tanks, were bought by the residents themselves, with their own money. All the villagers are pitching in to buy medicine and refill oxygen tanks,” the statement says.
A similar situation is occurring in other regions of Dagestan.
“The situation is exactly the same in the Kaitag region. Hospitals are overcrowded with pneumonia patients. My mother is a medical assistant in a small village, and there are so many patients with the virus that the paramedics do not have time other patients. There are no protective agents, not even fever reducers. The medics are being used as cannon fodder,” writes ramazanova.aikhanum on Instagram.
Muslim Musayev, a resident of Makhachkala, confirmed that the situation in the republic is “very alarming.”
“It has affected our neighbors, our relatives. People are suddenly getting pneumonia en masse. For so long, we did not realize how dangerous it was — we went to the beach and on picnics. The main source of coronavirus was those who returned home from different areas in Russia, mainly from Moscow.”
On May 3, the city of Khasavyurt was put on lockdown.
Social activist and blogger Makhach Abdullayev says that local authorities have “their own Dagestan, which exists in some sort of parallel universe.” Meanwhile, the rest of the population lives in the real Dagestan, with similar nightmares occurring in Gegrebil, Gubden, Izberbash and Kizlyar, he says.
COVID – The number of dissidents in the North Caucasus is decreasing, but they still exist
While doctors are fighting to save lives of coronavirus patients, COVID dissidents are still active in the North Caucasus. They continue to spread their propaganda on social networks, urging people not to believe in a pandemic and not stay at home.
Many, however, contradict their own words. For example, while continuing to deny the coronavirus, they also accuse the cell phone towers of spreading the virus.
There are no 5G towers in the territory of North Ossetia. However, the inhabitants of the village of Nogir, influenced by online propaganda, burned the old antenna of one of the mobile operators located there, and were left without internet.
Tamirlan Akiev, a public figure in Ingushetia, assessing the situation in the North Caucasus, says that the more people die from coronavirus, the more they will realize that the pandemic is a real threat.
It would be nice to stop COVID dissidents before this happens, he says.