Hello there! I was supposed to write something about coronavirus in October 2020, but you know how responsibly I lead my blog. In any case, since I am now ill with - guess what - Covid and can't leave my apartment for the next two weeks, I thought it would be a good time to write on my blog about it.
In case you are worried about me
, although, why would you?: I'm fine, mostly. I am coughing a bit and bored to death, but other than that, pretty ok.
So, how has Russia been dealing with the Covid pandemic?
That is a very good question! Almost as if I asked it myself. At the moment, the country is facing a third wave, of infections. This could possibly be worse than the previous waves because of the Delta variant, which is much more contagious. The number of cases has been rising quite quickly, but the government is not repeating the measures imposed in similar situations in the past. In Moscow, not long ago you could only go to a restaurant if you were vaccinated or could present a PCR test made in the last 3 days.
I am currently living in Saint Petersburg. There were no measures enforced by the government when the pandemic first started, back in April 2020. Then, there was a recommended isolation policy, but nothing actually forbidding businesses from operating. It was the beginning of Spring and the weather was finally not shitty, so everyone was just walking around the city center and going to bars and restaurants. Some were wearing masks, a majority of them weren't.
During the summer there was a closure of venues and public gatherings, but other than that, people in Saint Petersburg were still not exactly paying attention to isolation. Businesses closed again for some time during the winter, but that was quite it. Up until now, masks are required in most closed spaces, but not on the street.
How has the pandemic affected you personally?
Well, at the moment I can't travel outside of Russia, since the border security might not let me back in the country, since I don't have a permanent residence permit. I haven't seen my family in 2 years almost, which sucks, really. I am dreaming of the time when I can take some vacations and travel somewhere with exotic food. My Russians friend can travel to a few countries already, so normally I check their Instagram stories in Bali, or Georgia, or Turkey, and then I cry.
From April to September, I was working from home. Oh, how fun it was to work from home during the summer with no AC. By autumn, my office reopened for employees willing to take Covid tests every two weeks. I thought I was done working home, so applied to go back to the office. And then I regretted that I couldn't work from home when the temperature reached -20C during the winter.
This spring, most restrictions on working in the office were lifted, so most people started coming back. We even had a corporate party not long ago, as it was considered safe to gather large numbers of people again.
God, I want to travel so much. Please let me travel.
Russia registered the first Covid vaccine. Why hasn't everyone vaccinated yet?
The vaccination campaign is going quite slowly in Russia. Unfortunately, people are too distrustful of the government, so even information about the pandemic or the need for a vaccine is not taken very seriously. Indeed, Sputnik V has not been recognized by WHO, but it was already analyzed by numerous national and international organizations, and many countries are importing it in order to vaccinate their own population.
Russians, though, still fear that it might have side effects that somehow are not worthy the benefit of immunity against a lethal virus. Some believe the vaccine is completely inefficient, and I recently found out why. A funny story that I had to experience showcases this: I was talking to an acquaintance about the pandemic, which was something pretty new at the time, and this "woke" guy tried to explain to me that the Russian government was just trying to portray a common flu as a serious pandemic in order to keep people obedient and fearful. I guess that if I had listened a bit longer to him, he might say, "Wake up, sheeple!"
Why haven't you vaccinated?
Here comes one of the most foolish explanations I ever had to write.
I was going to. Really. First, I consulted my insurance about it, but they said that the vaccine was free and therefore not offered by any insurance system at the time. But I am a foreigner, so I can't get vaccinated for free. I would have to pay almost 100 euro for each dose, so I decided that maybe I'll wait a bit longer.
After that, a friend recommended another clinic where the vaccine was "free", but required a paid consultation after receiving each dose. Because of course. Anyway, the price was much lower, so I signed up. And on the same day I was about to get vaccinated, I got the information that my company was going to organize a massive vaccination campaign for the employees, for free, so obviously I canceled.
Then I got sick. Yay.
So I guess now I am a living inspirational story. There will never be a perfect time, so better to vaccinate earlier, rather than later.
Thanks for reading all the way down here. Stay healthy!