The real reason Russia has so few Coronavirus cases

So here's where we are, by the numbers: as of April 2, the Guardian reports that there are more than 92,000 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection in New York alone. There are over 226,000 confirmed cases across the United States. In Italy, there are over 115,000 confirmed cases, per Statista.

Meanwhile, Russia reports a relatively low 3,548 confirmed infections, according to Statista. While this number has increased considerably within the last few days, the country of 146 million has numbers not much higher than Luxembourg, which has 2,487 cases, per the US Embassy in Luxembourg, but a population about 266 times lower than Russia's. According to CNN, the Motherland has experienced unparalleled success in stemming the flow of this international pandemic. What's their secret? Is it paleo?

Russia's World Health Organization representative Dr. Melita Vujnovic puts it down to an early response at a national level. As early as January, Russia had implemented widespread testing on the advice of the WHO. "Testing and identification of cases, tracing contacts, isolation, these are all measures that WHO proposes and recommends, and they were in place all the time," says Vujnovic, also noting the country's first-inning enthusiasm for social distancing.

Or is it?

However, not everyone is sold on the nation's reports. Skepticism regarding Russia's remarkably low transmission rate remains high, and even non-members of the tinfoil hat element have targets ripe for finger pointing. In the 1980s, the Russian government came under scrutiny for its response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as well as the dissemination of misinformation regarding the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Governments are generally pretty big on the "nothing to see here" approach, and the executive branch of the United States government didn't acknowledge the threat of the COVID-19 outbreak until March of 2020, so throwing stones would put the glass house in pretty immediate danger. Still, other factors, such as the Russian government's swift removal of any news reports stating that the infection rate was actually much higher, don't bode awesomely. Per CNN, Alliance of Doctors leader Doctor Anastasia Vasilyeva has made claims that the Kremlin is covering up further infections by having them purposely misdiagnosed as pneumonia.