Russia recorded its highest monthly death toll from COVID-19 in November, the state statistics agency Rosstat reported on December 30.
The number of deaths during the month was 87,527, breaking a record set in October and bringing the overall number of virus-linked deaths between April 2020 and October 2021 to nearly 626,000.
According to Rosstat, 71,187 of the 87,527 deaths were caused directly by confirmed COVID-19. The number of deaths likely caused by the virus but not confirmed by a test was 8,939.
In 1,477 cases, the virus significantly exacerbated fatal complications of other diseases and in 5,924 cases people tested positive for the virus but died of other causes.
The surge came amid low vaccination rates and poor compliance with coronavirus restrictions. Although Russia approved a domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine -- Sputnik V -- months before most of the world, just 51 percent of Russia’s nearly 146 million people have been fully vaccinated.
Russia in recent months has faced record numbers of infections and deaths as the delta variant spread. The situation improved over the past few weeks, but the authorities are now bracing for a new wave of infection caused by the omicron variant.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, who heads the state coronavirus task force, said Russia’s overall mortality rate grew by 17 percent in November over the same month last year, a growth she said was due to COVID-19.
The task force held its final meeting of 2021 on December 30 and Golikova said the number of coronavirus infections is declining.
The overall number of deaths reported by Rosstat is more than twice the toll reported by Russia’s state coronavirus task force. Russian officials have attributed the difference to the fact that the task force only includes deaths for which COVID-19 was the main cause and uses data from medical facilities.
Rosstat uses broader criteria for counting deaths linked to the virus and takes its numbers from civil registry offices where registering a death is finalized.