Covid in Belarus

Mortality in Belarus, 1980 to June 2020 (chart: ZF, data: UN)

Updated: October 22, 2020; Published: September 1, 2020
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Among all industrialized countries, the Eastern European nation of Belarus introduced the softest anti-coronavirus measures and even continued its soccer league and military parades. Long-time president Lukashenko famously called the coronavirus a “Western psychosis”. Even coronavirus pragmatics like Sweden looked almost paranoid compared to Belarus.

Many Western media were instead predicting or even hoping for a coronavirus catastrophe in Belarus, as Western geostrategists wanted to get rid of Lukashenko for quite some time. However, such a catastrophe did not materialize and most Western media outlets simply stopped reporting about coronavirus developments in Belarus somewhen back in May.

Today, Belarus with a population of 9.5 million officially reports only 680 covid deaths. This figure is almost certainly too low (covid deaths may have been classified as “pneumonia deaths” instead), but given Western media silence, it cannot be much higher, either (see update below).

How can this quite low covid death rate be explained? One possible answer is the rather young demographics of Belarus (median age of 39) and especially the uniquely low life expectancy of males (66 years) compared to females (78 years), mainly due to heavy drinking and smoking.

This massive gender longevity gap means that the risk group most affected by covid – elderly males above 75 years – hardly exists in Belarus (see chart below), while elderly females are known to generally cope much better with covid (for reasons not yet fully understood).

In mid-June, president Lukashenko revealed that the International Monetary Fund IMF was never­the­less demanding a full lockdown as a condition for new foreign loans – a demand he rejected.

See also: Covid-19: How does Belarus have one of the lowest death rates in Europe? (BMJ)

Demographics in Belarus (CIA Factbook)

Update September 21: All-cause mortality data shows that deaths are about ten times higher than official figures, but still within the range of previous strong seasonal flu waves.

Mortality in Belarus, 1980 to June 2020 (chart: ZF, data: UN)

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