The fourth wave of the epidemic could peak in Hungary at the end of November, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). By then, not even an actual infection rate of around 25,000 per day can be ruled out. The total number of victims could jump to more than 36,000 by January 1st.
It should be noted that the effectiveness of such statistical forecasts is quite limited, but the predicted epidemic curves so far have been relatively accurate by the organization. For example, in their analysis published on October 21, 2020, they projected 115 deaths per day on November 27th, which hit the bull’s eye at the time. However, for the peak of the second wave, they predicted a daily death toll between 145 and 150, which was exceeded by the reality: in early December, the coronavirus claimed 190 lives in a single day.
If the current trend continues, the highest death toll will be between 156 and 158 on December 19th. If an even worse scenario were to occur due to some external factor, such as people becoming less disciplined or less vigilant, it is likely that the peak of the fourth wave would occur just before Christmas (23-25 December), when daily deaths could be as high as 230-231. This would be slightly below the more than 250 seen in March and April 2021. However, by January 1, 2022, the total number of victims could rise above 36,000 based on current calculations. (As of today, the coronavirus has claimed 30,230 lives in Hungary).
At the peak of the epidemic in early December, 8,476 of Hungary’s hospital capacity could be occupied by patients with coronavirus, tying up 3,328 intensive care beds, according to IHME.
In the worst-case scenario, the fourth wave will peak with a daily number of new infections around 36,000 (including those not tested).
However, a model has also been prepared for a return to mandatory mask-wearing in enclosed spaces and on the streets, which would result in a more moderate daily actual infection rate between 1,100 and 1,200, and would also flatten the epidemic curve more slowly: around 1,500 new tested and untested cases per day are expected by January.
Napi.hu reports that one of the worst figures from the IHME forecast is that they do not expect the vaccination coverage rate of the population to move from 61% of the EU’s vaccination coverage by January.
IHME’s graphics about Hungary can be viewed here.
Featured image via Komka Péter/MTI