Moscow Coronavirus Patients Die After Oxygen Outage

Two coronavirus patients hospitalized outside Moscow have died following an oxygen outage in at least the fourth such incident in recent months, regional health officials confirmed to Russian media Wednesday.

A malfunction is believed to have caused the oxygen supply interruption at the coronavirus wing of the hospital in the western Moscow region district of Odintsovo, emergency crews told state media.

The two patients’ deaths were a result of their severe illness and were not caused by the oxygen outage, the Moscow region health ministry said.

Sixteen patients were on ventilators at the intensive care unit at the time of the early-morning outage, the ministry told Interfax.

The Baza Telegram news channel had previously reported, citing unnamed emergency sources, that the 15-minute outage directly caused two deaths — that of 47-year-old Alexander Naumenko and 78-year-old Stanislav Olshansky.

In the wake of the scandals, the federal health watchdog asked all 85 Russian regions to report any medical oxygen shortages in their hospitals. The watchdog announced an inspection into Tuesday’s deaths.

The latest incident follows the deaths of dozens of patients in two Russian cities linked to oxygen equipment breakdowns late last year.

Weeks prior to that, an oxygen line explosion at Moscow’s main coronavirus treatment center did not cause deaths or injuries because it was still under construction at the time.

Applause breaks out as Senate passes Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill

Applause broke out in the Senate on Saturday afternoon as senators voted 50-49 to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion (£1.3 trillion) Covid relief package.

Not one Republican senator voted for the sweeping package, which provides direct payments to the majority of Americans and funding for states to distribute Covid-19 vaccines and ramp up testing for the coronavirus.

But Democrats remained unified in their support for the bill after the White House brokered a deal with centrists like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) that made relief payments and further economic aid more targeted than previous plans passed under former President Donald Trump.

Still, the mood was upbeat on Saturday as lawmakers cheered the passage of the latest relief package following hours of long debates and a Senate vote-a-rama that lasted through the night.

The senators broke out in the applause after Senator Leahy (D—VT) announced the passage of the bill. Many Democrats were standing and cheering together on the Senate floor as it became clear they had enough votes to pass the legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D—NY) said Mr Biden called him after the bill passed and said: “I knew we’d get this done.”

Praising the efforts of his Democratic colleagues, the senator said: “Unity, unity, unity. That’s how we passed this bill.”

The bill, titled the American Rescue Plan, featured funding for small restaurants to reopen of up to $25 billion, along with $13 billion in nutrition programs.

The legislation also extends a massive $350 billion in direct support for state and local governments, which have seen depleting budgets amid the pandemic.

Unemployment benefits and other financial assistance for those impacted by the Covid-19 crisis were also featured in the bill, which Mr Schumer said he expected the president to sign by the deadline of March 14.

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