Mon. Jun 14th, 2021

Covid-19 has mutated significantly, and the virus is now much harder to treat than it used to be. That’s according to the head of Moscow’s Kommunarka Hospital, which last year became the city’s main coronavirus treatment facility.

Speaking to Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy on Thursday, the hospital’s chief physician, Denis Protsenko, who became a household name in 2020 due to his role at the forefront of the country’s battle against Covid-19, explained that it has become much harder to treat ill patients.

“There is a feeling that the virus is changing,” Protsenko explained. “The proven methods of treatment for hyperinflammation or, as we call it, cytokine storms, are often failing.”

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“This makes us think that the virus has also changed and has mutated in this year and a half,” he said, before encouraging people to get vaccinated against the disease.

According to Protsenko, the Kommunarka hospital is now filled with a large number of elderly patients, as well as people who are overweight or diabetic. Furthermore, collective immunity in the capital is still under 50%, he said.

On Wednesday, Deputy Moscow Mayor Anastasia Rakova revealed that the city would open up additional hospital beds in the upcoming days, boosting its capacity by 1,500. That announcement came after Mayor Sergey Sobyanin ordered local authorities to ramp up enforcement of sanitary measures, such as the wearing of masks on public transport. However, he also noted that he had no plans to introduce any new lockdowns.

According to the official numbers, Russia recorded 12,505 new cases nationwide on Friday – the highest figure since February 22. The capital is bearing the brunt of the latest wave, with 5,853 new infections detected in just 24 hours – 47% of all cases recorded. Moscow is home to just 10% of the country’s population.

However, perhaps most worryingly, Moscow’s coronavirus spread, measured by the so-called R rate, soared to 1.6 in the past 24 hours – the highest seen since September 30 last year.

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