According to American analysts, it is possible that by the end of March, 500 people will die every day in Hungary due to the coronavirus. However, virologist Miklós Rusvai treats the forecast of the epidemic analysts with skepticism.
According to a projection by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), supported by the Bill Gates Foundation, more people in Hungary could die and become infected than ever before in the third wave of the epidemic. The analysis estimates that nearly 500 people will die every day in Hungary due to the coronavirus by the end of March, and more than 40,000 deaths will be registered by July. Moreover, calculations depict that the epidemic may peak in the country at the beginning of April, and at best the numbers will decrease drastically towards the end of June.
In order to put this into context, currently around 150 people die due to coronavirus on a daily basis, and the death toll is at 16,325.
The projection also covers the use of hospital resources, which estimates that by mid-March more people will need hospital beds than what are currently available (approximately 20,000). The analysis further concludes that the maximum beds needed in Hungary will be around 26,000 by the end of March; however, the demand for beds will gradually decline.
What are the counter-arguments of virologist Miklós Rusvai regarding the analysis?
On leftist-liberal Klubrádió, Miklós Rusvai spoke about the fact that the forecast of the American epidemiologists for Hungary does not take into account the protection measures and the number of immune people. According to him, the surge of the coronavirus epidemic will be curbed by the vaccination campaign and the new government measures introduced on March 8th.
The university professor added that these forecasts are always made on the basis of current data, without taking protection measures into account. Miklós Rusvai also pointed out that there were much worse predictions in the same database during the second waves last spring and fall than how the actual numbers of deaths developed.
The virologist believes that the current restrictions plus the vaccinations given in the last two weeks will have a significant effect by the end of March. He expects the peak of the epidemic by this period, and afterwards he assumes the number of new infections and victims may decrease.
Miklós Rusvai previously spoke on InfoRádió, saying that the number of registered new infections per day could be around 10,000 in the next two weeks, but official data shows only 10 percent of positive cases, so in fact there could be more than 100,000 new patients per day.
Stopping the epidemic would require the often-mentioned 70 percent herd immunity, either through vaccination or infection. In order for there to be a noticeable improvement in the statistics, half of that (3.5-4 million people) need immunity, he added.
Featured photo illustration by Tamás Kovács/MTI