In the first and second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, we witnessed the threat it poses to the elderly and those with underlying illnesses. However, during the third Covid wave, many reports about younger and often healthy people who required hospital admission or who even died after contracting the virus have surfaced.
After the fast-spreading U.K. variant of the coronavirus appeared in Hungary at the end of February, it began to spread at a devastating pace. On top of the British mutation being more contagious, it has also proven to be more dangerous to young and middle-aged people.
Unfortunately, the British variant also claims its victims among the young age group, and many of those treated in hospitals are young people, said Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller on Tuesday.
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She was not the first one to point out that the British mutation is far more dangerous for the younger generations than any other before.
More younger patients are being hospitalized and in increasingly serious condition, Judit Tóth, vice-president of the Trade Union of Hungarian Doctors(MOSZ), told left-leaning broadcaster ATV a few days ago.
The British variant seems to cause more severe symptoms among younger people; furthermore, it spreads more quickly between them as they are more active and their number of contacts is still too high, Tóth emphasized.
Gábor Zacher, chief physician of the Hatvan hospital, in a recent interview, called the situation extremely dire.
“It’s shocking when I enter a hospital room during wardwalks and almost everyone there could be my child[according to their age],” the 60-year-old toxicologist who works in the hospital’s Covid ward, recalled. “That is something we never encountered before.”
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After the British Covid variant appeared in Hungary, János Szlávik, the chief infectologist of the South Pest Central Hospital, already said people admitted to hospitals are getting younger while the new mutant is causing 10-15 percent more severe symptoms. Szlávik also said the average age of hospital admissions had dropped by about five years.
In a later interview, he also pointed out that the average age of patients in serious condition is declining, and people between the age of 40-50 who did not have any underlying illnesses are more likely to be hospitalized.
According to an analysis created by news site Telex, official statistics already show that the average age of those deceased is significantly declining in Hungary. Although two-thirds of the death toll is still over the age of 70, far more people aged 50-69 are now dying due to Covid-19 than during the first and second waves.
In the third wave, the proportion of people under the age of 60 among the deceased is more than 3 percentage points higher. Although at first glance it doesn’t seem much, proportionately it means that in this age group there are almost 40 percent more fatalities than in the second wave and more than 80 percent more than in the first.
Featured photo by Attila Balázs/MTI