János Szlávik, chief infectiologist of the South Pest central hospital recently shared his thoughts on subjects in connection with increasing number of the coronavirus infections, getting vaccinated against the flu, capacity of hospitals and the common misconceptions surrounding the virus.
Referring to Hungarian data on coronavirus cases, Szlávik said that the figures in Hungary show that more and more people are getting sick and are hospitalized with severe symptoms. “Today, almost everyone has someone in their environment who is infected,” the chief infectiologist of the South Pest Central Hospital told Hír Tv.
The chief physician drew attention to the importance of mask use, hand disinfection as well as influenza vaccination. The flu season is approaching, and not just the symptoms are similar, but at-risk groups are also the same for flu as for the coronavirus. Taking the flu vaccination is also useful, because later in the fall-winter flu season, it can be a great help to doctors in making a diagnosis. Concerning coronavirus vaccines, Szlávik said that the first vaccine could arrive in Hungary in the spring at the earliest, adding that in his view, the end of the coronavirus epidemic can only come about with a reliable, effective vaccination.
The infectiologist also spoke on ATV about the fact that 90 percent of those infected with symptoms are elderly and although Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said earlier that everyone will be treated, the country will definitely lose 1-2 percent of those infected. He also said, that the epidemiological hospitals currently in use are nearing the end of their capacities. For example, the South Pest hospital currently has 103 patients out of whom 11 require ventilator treatment, which is much more than in the spring. Szlávik shared that the numbers regarding maximum capacity had been determined, and that currently, they are very close to reaching it. If they reach the end of their capacity, the operative board will open new hospitals to treat coronavirus patients.
The expert also talked about the fact that the amount of testing and contact research obviously helps in epidemic treatment and to curb the spread of the disease. However, due to the official price of the tests (set at 19.500 HUF by the government and the operative board), he fears that fewer tests will be carried out in the future, as there will not be as many labs. According to the infectiologist, efforts should be made to maintain 9-10 thousand daily tests.
Szlávik also pointed out recently that there is a research group whose studies show that the virus has in fact mutated, but the virus that now infects Hungary is just as dangerous as it was in the spring. He said the biggest misconception is that the coronavirus does not exist and that it is no worse than a common flu. Earlier, he told M1 that the coronavirus could leave serious complications for people no longer infected. In many cases, it caused heart disease and conditions, muscular fatigue, various sleep disorders, and general weakness.
According to the doctor, about 40 percent of healed cases occur with such symptoms, and this also shows that this virus attacks not only the lungs, but almost all organ systems. Data shows that a significant proportion of those recovering from the coronavirus still complain of fatigue for months, he said, noting that the level of lung capacity in those who recover is often not restored to their original level. People in the intensive care unit may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
featured photo: Attila Kovács/MTI