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How Do Hungary’s Covid Stats Compare to Other European Countries?

Péter Cseresnyés 2020.10.07.

Just like in Europe, the coronavirus pandemic has been seeing a great surge in Hungary in the past few weeks. The number of daily cases is now continually hovering at 1,000, while the number of deaths is also on a steep incline. Due to increasingly worrying data, we have taken a look at some indicators that could show how Hungary compares to other European countries.

As of Wednesday, 6,363,984 coronavirus cases have been reported in Europe with the situation being the most severe in Russia (1,237,504), followed by Spain (789,932), France (624,274), the UK (515,571), and Italy (327,586).

In Hungary, the total number of registered infections stands at 33,114 with a daily rise between 800 and 1,000 cases. Just in the past month, 23,588 new cases have been registered in the country.

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Case rates among European countries

Based on the official numbers, Hungary has one infected person for every 292 people. According to Worldometer’s data, this puts Hungary in 33rd place out of the 44 European countries in respect of the total number of cases per 1 million people, preceded directly by Serbia and Germany. In this category, Andorra has the worst statistics, however, if we exclude the tiniest European countries; due to the distorting effect of their small population size, we can see that Spain tops the list with 1 infection for every 54 people.

As the number of registered cases is closely tied to the number of tests performed in each country, these numbers can sometimes be less reliable, especially in Hungary’s case where testing capacities reached their limit weeks ago.

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Thus, the most relevant indicator is probably comparing the death rate in each European country.

Death rate

There have been 227,221 recorded coronavirus deaths in Europe since the beginning of the pandemic. The UK has the highest number of deaths reported in a single European country at 42,445.

However, Belgium has the highest death rate from the virus with approximately 870 deaths per 1 million as of October 7, followed by Spain with 695 deaths.

In Hungary, this figure is 91, which ranks the country at the 20th place among the European countries. Interestingly, at the other end of the list is neighboring Slovakia with only ten coronavirus deaths per 1 million residents in the country.

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Next to Belgium, the situation is also much worse in Spain, Italy, and Sweden compared to Hungary, while the death ratio is over five times higher in France and it is 115 in Germany. In an article comparing Hungary’s death ratio to other European countries, pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet noted that said indicator was also much better in Hungary than in spring. During the first wave, a similar number of people died, but the number of new cases was about one-tenth of the current figures, Magyar Nemzet reported.

However, if we take a look at the percentage change in the mortality figures for the past seven days, we get a less reassuring picture. Among the neighboring countries, only Slovakia’s increase in its mortality rate was greater than Hungary’s and Slovenia’s 33%. The indicator is more favorable in any other country in the region. The question until a working vaccine is created remains: will the rate of fatalities accelerate or slow down in the upcoming months?

It is important to know that even though the death rate seems to be the best way to measure how each European country’s defense compares to another, there are some factors that we have to take into account. Due to the different practices used by each country to record Covid-19 related statistics; especially how and when deaths are reported, and what protocols are used to determine the cause of death, it is hard to make an ultimate comparison as these largely influence how a country’s performance is measured.

Featured photo by Károly Árvai/