Unfortunately, coronavirus statistics in Hungary again showed a deteriorating trend throughout February- no wonder both PM Viktor Orbán and Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller stated at the end of the month that the third wave of the epidemic had started in the country. Although the vaccination rate improved impressively in February, it is still feared that the third wave will pose an even more significant burden on the healthcare system than the first and second waves. Analysis.
In the past four weeks, all of Hungary’s coronavirus stats showed a surge in the number of daily cases, especially by the end of the month. The number of daily infections quadrupled since the 1st of February as data shows an increase from 1,124 to 4,469 new cases by the 28th of February. The numbers rocketed dramatically from mid-February.
Impressively, the number of tests have also increased. At the beginning of the month, 10,862 tests were performed daily; however, in comparison, on the 28th of February 27,630 people had to be tested. What is even more important out of this data is the ratio of positive tests. According to the World Health Organization, if the positive test ratio is below 5% the epidemic is under control, with an upper limit of 12%. At the beginning of February, 10.35% of tests were positive in Hungary, whereas four weeks later, this ratio has increased to almost 18%. Considering that there was a time in Hungary in December when 68% of tests came out positive, these statistics show a better picture, yet not perfect.
Even though the number of deaths per day reached an all time low in February on some days since the start of the second wave in the autumn, unfortunately the daily deaths started to increase gradually by the end of the month. Moreover, the coronavirus death toll in Hungary passed 15,000 deaths recently.
On top of this, the number of hospitalized patients grew from 3,682 to 5,482 during the month, and the stats of patients on ventilators also climbed from 273 to 524.
How about vaccinations?
It seems that more and more people are willing to be vaccinated and trust in the jabs are increasingly growing. The rollout of the first doses of the vaccines are more significant, however this is not surprising. The difference between the number of people who receive the first and second dose is likely to widen in the future due to the government’s recent decision to delay the the second dose of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNtech vaccines. This decision was made due to the steady increase in infection rates by the end of February, and aims to protect more people partially than fully.
In terms of data, in February, more than 400,000 people received their first jab and more than 180,000 people their second dose. The Prime Minister promised that those who registered for vaccinations will get their first jab by Easter. According to the government, this means that 2.5-2.6 million people will get their jab by April and by the beginning of March, 1.2 million people will be fully inoculated.
In order to achieve the aforementioned goals, the prime minister shared his 8–10-day plan, during which 650,000 people would be vaccinated. However, as news portal Telex criticized the approach, by the 9th day, only 280,000 of the 650,000 people were vaccinated, not even half of the goal the prime minister set. Nevertheless, the vaccination rate is continuously showing an upward trend, which is altogether positive in terms of the fight against the virus.
In terms of coronavirus cases per million people, it seems that Hungary gradually became worse and worse compared to other European countries and the USA. By the 28th of February only the Czech Republic had worse statistics in regard to this measure. The same trends can be concluded when we look at daily new confirmed deaths per million people, which indicates that Hungary was second among European countries where deaths were the largest relative to population.
Featured photo illustration by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI