Russia’s official coronavirus numbers are relatively low. Even Moscow’s mayor is questioning the count.
MOSCOW — The dining rooms in Russia’s restaurants remain open. There’s no panic runs on toilet paper. Moscow’s streets look almost unchanged amid the pandemic.Russia, spanning two continents ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, remains an anomaly: a population of around 145 million but just 495 confirmed cases of the disease and one possible death, although the cause has been disputed.But the statistics have prompted skepticism — of both the method of testing and whether a nationwide uptick in pneumonia cases could be, as some doctors and government critics believe, linked to covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.President Vladimir Putin said last week that “the situation in our country looks a lot better” than Europe and was “under control.” But visiting one of Moscow’s coronavirus hospitals Tuesday, state television showed Putin wearing a full hazmat suit.Russian President Vladimir Putin, wearing a yellow protective suit, visits a hospital for patients with suspected coronavirus in New Moscow on March 24, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin/Pool/Sputnik/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)Two hours earlier, Moscow’s mayor told him that the number of cases is probably much higher than what has been reported because of limitations in testing.“The testing volume is very low, and nobody knows the real picture,” said the mayor,