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Hungary’s coronavirus related daily death rate is on a frighteningly consistent upward curve. Hungary’s total deaths have surpassed 20 thousand people, and the question of when the rapidly increasing curve of the pandemic will peak is on everyone’s lips. Hungary’s health professionals and government officials offer various responses.

There is no clear answer as to when Hungary’s upward curve will stop, and when restrictions will be eased. Most calculations seem to indicate a peak and then a plateau near the end of April and a significantly better situation by June. Still, there are a few things that must be considered before jumping to conclusions about the end of the third wave.

Understanding Hungary’s Coronavirus Statistics

Balázs Pártos of Semmelweis University shared four graph projections of the coronavirus. The first two show that hospital capacity increases with active infections. This means that the government accommodates hospitals to meet the growing severity of the virus, and makes it clear that the virus is continuously worsening.

Coronavirus: Daily Fatalities One Short of Record High
Coronavirus: Daily Fatalities One Short of Record High

Fully 274 patients died over the past 24 hours, while 4,609 new infections were registered, koronavirus.gov.hu said on Tuesday. Since the first outbreak, 645,733 infections have been registered, while fatalities have risen to 20,435. Fully 402,964 people have made a recovery. The number of active infections has risen to 222,334 while hospitals are caring for […]Continue reading

The third and fourth graphs show that people who die from the virus spend a certain amount of time on ventilators beforehand, since there is a lag between number of deaths and number of ventilators in use. Thus, according to Pártos, deaths will continue to occur even if the number of people on ventilators are no longer increasing.

Daily Deaths Shown to be Best Indicator

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) states that daily deaths are the best indicator of the progression of the pandemic, even with a 17–21-day lag between infection and deaths. As harrowing as they are, these numbers show the direct impact the virus has on Hungary’s population.

According to the institute, Hungary’s daily deaths will plateau on April 18, and then face a sharp decline. The current projection shows that by June there may only be roughly 15-25 deaths a day, lower if masks are worn universally.

Health Professionals Forecast Severe Situation for Weeks

János Szlávik, senior infectologist of the South-Pest Central Hospital, told public media on Saturday that Hungary is in “the most severe days” of the third wave right now, and that the situation will continue to worsen. The infectologist said Easter will be especially dangerous, since people are more likely to spend time with their families without masks.

Senior Infectologist: Virus Spread Could Start Slowing Mid-to-Late April
Senior Infectologist: Virus Spread Could Start Slowing Mid-to-Late April

Past experience indicates that the spread of the coronavirus in Hungary could start slowing again in mid-to-late April, János Szlávik, senior infectologist of the South-Pest Central Hospital, told public media on Saturday. Hungary right now is in “the most severe days” of the third wave of the pandemic, with record caseloads and a high number […]Continue reading

Szlávik’s projection also points towards a slowing of the pandemic in mid-to-late April. He believes Hungary’s authorization of multiple vaccines allows it to be “capable of vaccinating a lot more people than many other European countries, but at the moment even this is not enough.”

According to Béla Merkely, rector of Semmelweis University, the severity of the pandemic should remain for another month and a half, followed by “a very nice summer, when families can be reunited, and when we will have the liberty to rest.”

Merkely added that thanks to the Chinese and Russian vaccines, Hungary’s vaccination rate is well over the European Union average. Hungary has vaccinated 20 percent of its population, significantly higher than the EU average of 12.5 percent. Still, its death rate per million is only lower than the Czech Republic.

Variety of Approved Covid Vaccines Advantageous for Hungary, says Med Uni Rector
Variety of Approved Covid Vaccines Advantageous for Hungary, says Med Uni Rector

Having as many as five Covid-19 vaccines approved by Hungary’s drug authority is an advantage in the fight against the disease, Béla Merkely, the rector of Budapest’s medical Semmelweis University, said on Sunday. Public trust in the vaccine is continuously rising, Merkely told public broadcaster Kossuth Radio, adding that 99.9 percent of doctors and 87 […]Continue reading

Merkely also emphasized that even though the weather is getting nicer, everyone should remember to wear masks, since the British mutation can cause severe symptoms in every age group. If someone is infected while wearing a mask, however, a smaller amount of the virus ends up in the body and can potentially be less harmful.

Virus Researcher Rusvai Emphasizes Immunity

Virus researcher Miklós Rusvai told M1 that the virus could plateau within the next few days. He believes the British mutation of the coronavirus, which spread through Hungary in January, is responsible for the current situation.

Hungarian Virologist Doubts US Institute's Apocalyptic Covid Forecast for Hungary
Hungarian Virologist Doubts US Institute's Apocalyptic Covid Forecast for Hungary

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 […]Continue reading

Rusvai emphasized that immunity is a key factor in curbing the pandemic, since whoever has recovered from the virus or has been inoculated has a significantly lower chance of spreading it. He believes herd immunity to be the only path to having a summer which is not ruined by the coronavirus.

Hungary’s Coronavirus Still Faces Upward Curve

Ágnes Galgóczi, Expert in Public Health at the National Public Health Center (NNK), said that Hungary is currently still in the upward curve of the third wave, and that continued disciplined behavior and adherence to restrictions are crucial.

Galgóczi told public media on Sunday that ten thousand new cases had been reported on Saturday, and that everyone’s priority right now should be to stop the spread of the virus.

Vaccination of Pregnant Women has Begun in Hungary
Vaccination of Pregnant Women has Begun in Hungary

The National Public Health Center approved vaccinations for pregnant women against the coronavirus on Friday, and from Saturday, medical universities have begun inoculating pregnant and lactating mothers at separate vaccination points through GP referrals. However, the vaccination points had experienced organizational problems when not only registered women showed up. There were also examples of women […]Continue reading

Restrictions must be adhered to during Easter as well, she said, this means maintaining social distancing, washing hands, using disinfectant, and wearing masks. Galgóczi said families should not have large gatherings, and that grandparents should only be visited if they have been inoculated.

PM Orbán: Plateau Phase Must Be Considered

On Kossuth Rádió’s “Good morning, Hungary” program last Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated that it is not certain that numbers will immediately begin to decrease immediately, but may instead remain in a “plateau phase” where they continuously remain at a high point. He said that he will not engage in predictions for now.

Examples of such a plateau occurring continuously include the Czech Republic and Belgium. The Czech Republic hit a two-week plateau in its death rate before falling back down, while Belgium’s plateau lasted ten days before death rates were reduced.

Why Did Hungary's Death Rate Increase So Drastically in the Third Wave?
Why Did Hungary's Death Rate Increase So Drastically in the Third Wave?

Hungary continues to have the highest daily coronavirus related death rate in the world. Aside from Gibraltar and San Marino, we have the second highest number of total deaths relative to our population. The curve does not appear to be waning, and Hungarians are beginning to ask themselves: why us? While there are no definite […]Continue reading

If Hungary faces a similar situation, its total number of deaths could grow by 10 percent in a one-week plateau, or even 25 percent in a two to three week plateau.

Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI


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