MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia recorded around 428,000 excess deaths from April 2020 to May this year during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Reuters calculations based on data released by the state statistics service on Friday.
Some epidemiologists say excess deaths are the best way to measure the real death toll from COVID-19. Russia's coronavirus task force has confirmed a toll of 141,501 since the pandemic began.
Excess deaths are typically defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time periods. Reuters based its calculations on a comparison with the annual average of deaths in 2015-19 calculated on a monthly basis.
Rosstat, the statistics agency, keeps a separate count from the task force and says it recorded around 290,000 deaths related to COVID-19 between last April and May this year. Data showed that 18,695 people had died from COVID-19 or related causes in May.
Russia is currently experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases. Authorities blame the more contagious Delta variant of the virus and the population's reluctance to get vaccinated despite shots being widely available.
The coronavirus task force reported 25,766 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the most confirmed in a single day since Jan. 2. Russia has recorded more than 5.7 million cases nationwide since the start of the pandemic.
(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Toby Chopra, William Maclean)