ST. PETERSBURG, April 16. /TASS/. St. Petersburg that is ranked in the top three Russian regions most affected by coronavirus has not passed the peak of the pandemic yet and thus can expect a significant increase in confirmed cases, head of the taskforce to prevent coronavirus spread in St. Petersburg Yevgeny Shlyakhto said Thursday.
"Our daily [coronavirus] cases are increasing erratically. It is important that we don’t have a huge rise in fatalities and, most importantly, we have significantly fewer pneumonia cases who are taken to hospitals than before. Also there is lower lethality from pneumonia outside of hospitals. There is still growth, we have not reached the peak yet. We are in the growth phase," the expert told an online press conference organized by TASS.
In the past 24 hours, the city recorded 154 new infections to bring the total to 1,083, while 170 of these patients recovered. Seven patients who tested positive for coronavirus died.
"There are many reasons, we are improving testing," Shlyakhto commented. "Look at the self-isolation index and answer the following question: do we comply with it? It [the index] is lower than 3, I drove around the city today and there are traffic jams. People walk outside not wearing masks."
According to him, even in the most negative scenario in St. Petersburg there won’t be hundreds of thousands of infections, while the majority of people who contract it will treat themselves at home. The number of gravely ill can get as high as 6,000, but the St. Petersburg healthcare system can handle this, the expert believes. "We will be fully braced for it, I am talking about the forecast, and the hospital capabilities will be in full gear by that time," he said.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 2,000,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 134,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 516,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, a total of 27,938 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 2,304 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 232 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.