Russia blames increase in deaths in June on delta variant

  • FILE - In this May 15, 2020, file photo, gravediggers in protective suits carry the coffin of a COVID-19 victim as relatives and friends stand at a distance in the section of a cemetery reserved for coronavirus victims in Kolpino, outside St. Petersburg, Russia. The head of Russia’s state coronavirus task force says the number of deaths nationwide in June this year rose nearly 14 percent over June 2020. That’s due to the spread of the delta variant of the virus that caused infections to soar and a record spike in deaths. Russia has suffered a surge of infections since early June, with daily new cases rising from about 9,000 in the beginning of the summer to over 23,000 in early July. For the first time in the pandemic, the daily death toll has exceeded 700, with 726 new deaths registered Friday. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, File)

MOSCOW — The head of Russia’s state coronavirus task force says the number of deaths nationwide in June this year rose nearly 14% over June 2020, due to the spread of the delta variant that caused infections to soar and a record spike in deaths.

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