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New Country Takes the No. 2 Slot in Virus Cases

As 2 deadly fires in Russian hospitals kill 6
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2020 2:44 PM CDT
Updated May 12, 2020 3:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Russia might have a serious problem with ventilators on its hands, but this one doesn't involve shortages. A fire that broke out Tuesday at a hospital in St. Petersburg killed five coronavirus patients who were on ventilators, reports the AP. And that follows a fire in a Moscow hospital on Saturday that killed one patient. In both cases, faulty ventilators are suspected, though investigations continue. Russia's TASS news agency quotes a source as saying that Tuesday's fire began when a ventilator erupted in flames, per Reuters. The latter outlet says the same Russian-made model of ventilator—called Aventi-M—is being blamed in both fires. Moscow sent some to the US in April to help with the equipment shortage here, according to Reuters. However, it was not immediately clear whether any were being used in US hospitals, reports CNBC. Related stories out of Russia:

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  • Closer to Putin: The spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin is hospitalized with COVID-19, reports the AP. "Yes, I've gotten sick," said Dmitry Peskov. "I'm being treated."
  • No. 2: Russia is seeing a spike in confirmed cases that have brought its total to more than 232,000. That means Russia is now behind only the US (1.3 million) in total cases, reports the BBC. The unwanted distinction comes one day after Putin eased the nation's restrictions, allowing factory and construction workers to return to work. Russia still has a relatively low official death toll of about 2,100. Its upward move pushes Spain to third.
(Read more Russia stories.)

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