COVID-19: 248 deaths, 5,865 new cases in Hungary over the weekend

Hungarian authorities diagnosed 5,865 people with SARS-CoV-2 infection, and 248 people died of coronavirus-related diseases over the last three days. There are 3,313 people with coronavirus infection in hospital, with 318 of them on ventilator. The Omicron variant is en route to becoming the dominant strain, but authorities still do not track the rate of its spread. Vaccines will be made available without prior registration or appointment booking every weekend between Thursday and Saturday in January, and registration for third doses are now open for adolescents aged 12 to 17.

The 'fifth wave' of the coronavirus pandemic started in Hungary around 25 or 27 December 2021. Authorities do not have information on the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) which doubles every 1.5 to 3 days. Or if they have said information, they do not share it with the public.

Daily percent positive data are unreliable and so are the short averages. Slightly more than COVID-19 34,000 tests were performed in Hungary over the last three days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). The three-day positivity rate is 17.14%, down from 19.51% reported for Thursday, but higher than a year ago. In fact, every average of the percent positive is (a lot) higher than a year ago.

More importantly, the 7-day average of the 3-day / 21-day percent positive ratio has swung back to over 100%, which does not bode well for the future.


Let's see how the 3-day, 7-day, 14-day and 17-day percent positive averages turned out in 2020 and 2021, or more precisely between 1 July of one year and 2 January of the next. As you can see the shorter-term averages have been steadily north of the base period's prints since early December and the longer-term averages have been constantly higher since mid-November (apart from a fluke on 5 Dec).


The 7-day rolling average of new COVID-19 is also on the rise and there was an uptick in the 7-day average of Covid deaths too.


In terms of the hospitalisation of coronavirus patients, we are still better off than a year ago, while there are more of them on ventilator than in the base period.

As of Sunday night, there were 5.4% fewer people in hospital with SARS-CoV-2 than late on Thursday, and their number is down 18.5% week on week. The number of Covid patients on ventilator dropped 5% between Thursday and Sunday and 22.3% in weekly terms.


However, the ventilated / hospitalised ratio has been rising for a couple of days now (to 13.45%), while this percentage was not only a lot lower (7.00%) but also dropping a year ago. Whereas there are fewer people in hospital with coronavirus infection, they are in a worse condition than a year ago.


On the charts below the 0% line is important. When the curves are under 0% there’s a decline, when they go over 0% it’s an increase. The changes show that the situation in terms of hospitalisations started to worsen after 20 August.

More importantly, when a value is north of 0% but the curve descends, it means an increase at a slowing rate, rather than a decrease. If the curve is above 0% and ascending, it is an increase at an accelerating rate. When we are under 0% and the curve goes lower, it translates into an accelerating decrease, and when it goes up it marks a decelerating decrease.


Here's another crucially important chart showing the number of hospitalised Covid patients as a percentage of active cases and the On ventilator / In hospital ratio.

When a pandemic 'wave' starts, the percentage of hospitalised patients relative to active cases always soars, because there is still a relatively low number of official cases due to inferior testing practices, and because early on most people with positive tests are likely in hospital.

The green curve peaks around 7% in every 'wave' and then the ratio starts to drop as authorities 'find' more and more infections. The reason why this curve starts to descend even though the number of hospitalisations goes up drastically is because the increase in new confirmed COVID-19 cases is even more staggering.

When there's a relative calm, the red curve picks up sharply, because only those Covid patients are left in hospital that are in severe condition. The others either recovered and were discharged or died.

Early in these waves this ratio always rises rapidly (low number of tests, many in severe condition in hospital, a lot of them in ICUs), but then the ratio starts to improve.

Balázs Pártos has pointed to an anomaly in this regard, namely that this trend was broken in late November this year. The proportion of those in hospital to active cases starts to drop, but the proportion of Covid patients in intensive care (relative to those in hospital) goes up. This indicates that there are too few people in hospital compared to before, i.e. there are more serious cases. As it is not the course of the disease that has become more severe, this indicates insufficient hospitalisation.

Vaccinations are progressing at a snail's pace. See more charts here.

  • about one third of the population have received three doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far;
  • about 3.5 million people have not received a single dose of any COVID-19 vaccine;
  • the effectiveness of vaccines wanes over time, which means that about three million Hungarians have diminished or no protection against coronavirus infection, even after two jabs;
  • the highly contagious Omicron variant is going to become the dominant strain, as Omicron cases double every two or three days. Even if this strain does not cause more severe disease than the Delta variant, its extremely rapid spread could strain the health care system to its limit in a very short time;
  • the Hungarian government is currently not considering lockdown measures, even though several countries in Western Europe have already introduced new restrictions.

The cabinet has announced a new vaccination campaign for January where Hungarians may, after on-site registration, ask for their first, second or third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The shots will be administered at vaccination locations between 2 and 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays.


Cover photo: MTI /Péter Komka

More in Economy

antony blinken egyesült államok paul whelan szergej lavrov oroszország
March 22, 2023 17:25

U.S. Department of State strongly criticises Hungary

Washington issues report on various concerns

ipar termelés worker dolgozó gyártósor bérek keresetek
March 22, 2023 14:55

Hungary stats office renews earnings data reporting

Will include all employers as of January

magyar honvédség mti nato
March 22, 2023 12:06

Hungary ranked 1st in NATO Annual Report

In terms of equipment spending as a share of defence expenditure

March 22, 2023 10:09

Hungarian gov't quadruples the amount of the Agricultural Damage Compensation Fund

More than 22,000 farmers will receive more than HUF 50 billion - at the cost of several other budget items, however

koronavírus vakcina szputnyik orosz oltás getty stock
March 22, 2023 09:27

Research disproves popular theory on Covid-19 vaccines, though some scientists remain sceptical

“It’s probably not the last chapter in this story.”