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Hungary Becomes Country with Highest Covid Transmission Rate in the World

Péter Cseresnyés 2021.11.04.

Currently, the coronavirus is spreading at the fastest rate in the world in Hungary according to the database of Oxford University, Our World in Data.

Based on official data collected by Oxford University, the reproduction rate, which determines the rate at which the coronavirus spreads, reached its latest peak of 1.85 in Hungary at the end of October. This rendered Hungary the country where the virus is spreading the fastest in the world.

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Hungary’s most recent value from November 1st with 1.79 is slightly lower than at the end of October, but it still indicates that on average, one infected person transmits the virus to almost two people.

Reproduction values greater than 1 indicate the virus is spreading and each case infects more than one contact. If it is less than 1, it means the spread is slowing.

According to the database, the Hungarian reproduction rate was only 1.3 at the beginning of October, and it took less than a month for the spread rate of the virus to accelerate this dramatically.


As there are several ways of calculating the reproduction rate, some estimates put Hungary’s current R-value somewhat lower. According to a recently published article by epidemiologic mathematician, Gergely Röst, research fellow and chair in mathematics at the University of Szeged, the Hungarian figures are probably at 1.4-1.5. This, however, still shows that we can expect an accelerating increase in the number of covid cases. It is also uncertain what impact the restrictive measures introduced in Hungary on November 1st will have on the covid transmission rate.

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Behind Hungary, several countries in the CEE region are also among the ones most severely affected by the deteriorating rate of transmission. This includes the Czech Republic and Slovakia with rates of 1.6 and 1.4 respectively. Meanwhile, the spread slowed significantly in Romania, which was one of the hardest-hit countries by the pandemic in the past weeks, and the reproduction rate fell below 1.

Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI