The city of Moscow said on Wednesday it had ascribed the deaths of more than 60% of coronavirus patients in April to other causes as it defended what it said was the superior way it and Russia counted the number of people killed by the novel virus.
At 242,271, Russia has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the United States, something it attributes to a massive testing program which it says has seen almost 6 million tests conducted.
But with 2,212 coronavirus deaths, Russia also has one of the world’s lowest mortality rates. Moscow, the epicenter of the country’s outbreak, accounts for 1,232 of those deaths.
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The disparity between the high number of cases and the relatively low number of deaths has prompted Kremlin critics and various Western and Russian media outlets to question the veracity of Russia’s official death statistics.
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Data published at the weekend showing that the total number of deaths registered in Moscow rose sharply in April compared with the same month last year and was also significantly higher than the number officially confirmed as having been caused by the new virus raised further suspicions.