Russia's total number of COVID-related deaths hits nearly 778,000

April 1 (Reuters) - Russia's total number of COVID-related deaths have reached almost 778,000 since the start of the pandemic in April 2020, Reuters calculations based on new data from the Rosstat state statistics service showed on Friday.

Rosstat said that 43,201 people had died from COVID or related causes in February, up from 35,807 in January.

The death toll hit a record monthly high of nearly 90,000 in November, propelling Russia into second place for the highest number of fatalities worldwide after the United States, which has more than twice the population.

Reuters calculations also showed Russia recorded more than 958,000 excess deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020 to the end of February, when compared to average mortality in 2015-2019.

Some epidemiologists say that calculating excess deaths is the best way to assess the true impact of a pandemic. (Reporting by Reuters Editing by Gareth Jones )