COVID-19 in Hungary: new cases, fatalities near record levels

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Hungarian authorities confirmed 6,360 new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections on Wednesday, bringing the total since March to 192,047. The number of fatalities increased to 4,229 after the disease claimed the lives of 115, predominantly elderly or chronic, patients yesterday. As 49,616 people have recovered, the number of active cases is currently 138,202. There are 7,537 coronavirus patients in hospital, with 640 of them on ventilators.
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The number of new cases came as a surprise as there has been a slow decline in daily figures in recent days before jumping to near-record level yesterday. While the spread of the virus in Hungary appeared to be stagnating in the past few days, it is now possible we will see an increase again.

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The number of daily fatalities has also been stagnating for the past few days and continues to hover around the record, with yesterday’s 115 dead very close to the peak of 121. There is unfortunately no decrease in sight for the moment.

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The number of people in hospital and on ventilators have both decreased compared to the previous day, but today’s high case number indicates this may be a temporary slump. The good news is that the formerly steeply rising curve of the number of people being treated in hospital has flattened in recent weeks.

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The ratio of positive results within tests applied was also high yesterday at 34%. The high positivity rate continues to indicate that the actual number of infections is much higher than that of confirmed cases, so overall we can infer that the spread of the virus is accelerating in Hungary. It should be noted, however, that contradictions in data both within given days and between days make drawing any conclusions very hard and it is now effectively impossible to say if the outbreak is stagnating or is on the rise.

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The number of confirmed cases includes tests applied by ambulances and on screening buses, as well as the rapid tests of hospital workers. The summarised results of the targeted group testing of nursery, kindergarten, school and social workers is expected to be released early next week, the official government website said.

The highest number of new cases, 1,100, was confirmed in Budapest yesterday, followed by Pest county with 890. The daily case number was above 350 in Veszprém, Hajdú-Bihar, Bács-Kiskun and Csongrád counties and was below 100 in Heves county.

In the past seven days, there were 5,415 new cases in Budapest and 4,288 in Pest county, far more than in any other counties in Hungary. The only county with more than 2,000 new cases was Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, while the figure remained below 1,000 in Zala, Somogy, Baranya, Tolna, Nógrád, Heves and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok counties.

In proportion of population, Vas county was the most infected region with 479 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days, followed by Békés county with 393, Pest county with 355 and Budapest with 309. The least infected counties were Heves and Somogy.

Cover photo: Getty Images

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