There are more patients infected with the novel coronavirus in Hungary than official data suggests due to the limited coronavirus testing capacity, economic news site Portfolio reports.
Hungary has reached its limit of testing capacity and it cannot conduct more than 10-12,000 tests daily, according to Portfolio. Thus, quite often, people who are suspected to be infected with COVID-19 have to wait up to 3-4 days to be tested while also waiting just as long to get their test results.
As the number of tests falls short of the required level, official statistics likely show significantly fewer cases than there actually are in the country, the news outlet claims. This is why we can often hear stories about people who, by the time their positive test results arrive, have already recovered from the virus at home.
However, some people’s conditions are getting worse rather than getting better, so they are admitted to the hospital without having a positive PCR test, the news site notes. As a result, they are not included in the daily statistics at the time of their admission to the hospital.
In the past weeks, an increasing number of patients suspected of COVID infection has been administered in multiple hospitals in Hungary, several sources informed Portfolio.
As there is a high chance of infecting others, these patients are isolated as if they were coronavirus patients. Some of them, suspected to be infected, are kept in special wards, while those who are most likely infected, even without a positive PCR test, are treated in COVID wards.
Due to slow test results, it is often the hospitals that are left with the task of detecting the virus.
As Portfolio notes the new policy which lets GPs classify anybody infected with coronavirus-like symptoms without a positive PCR test, might be in fact an attempt to relieve the pressure on the testing facilities of people with milder symptoms. These cases are not included in the official statistics either.
Although right now relatively few people are hospitalized, the mortality rate is on the rise, making the situation all the more worrisome, Portfolio points out, adding that it is high time to change the testing practices that are now used almost exclusively by African and South American countries, as this results in low test numbers and an overall distorted picture of the epidemic.
Most European countries test everyone who has symptoms, but there are more and more countries that also test those who have no symptoms and no contacts for free, the news site concludes.
Featured photo by Károly Árvai/kormany.hu/MTI