COVID-19: New cases down, hospitalisation, deaths up in Hungary

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The number of daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases keeps decreasing in Hungary, which suggests that the fifth wave in the coronavirus pandemic caused by the highly-congatious Omicron variant has peaked. As it takes time for the more important metrics to follow suit, it is no wonder that hospitalisations, the number of Covid patients on ventilator and deaths keep on rising.
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The week-on-week change in the 7-day average of Covid patients in hospital shows a diminishing growth, while we see the opposite in the w/w change in the 7-day average of Covid patients on ventilator.

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Highlights of of today's data release:

  • new cases -19.5% d/d, -25% w/w;
  • 7-day average of new cases -2.5% d/d, -15% w/w;
  • Covid patients in hospital +248 (+4.8%) d/d, +949 (+22.5%) w/w;
  • Covid patients on ventilator +4.6% d/d, +4% w/w;
  • Covid deaths +28 (+42%) w/w;
  • Short-term positivity rates (unreliable) started to come lower, long-term rates keep edging higher.

The two charts below show the same figures as the one above: the top one for 2022 and the lower for 2021.

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Short-term average positivity rates, including the 7-day average, started to drop, while long-term averages rose slightly further.

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More importantly, the 7-day / 28-day average and its 7-day average continued to fall.

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The 3-day average of hospitalised Covid patients and those on ventilator rose further.

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As regards the number of ventilated patients per those in hospital, the 7-day average has been dropping since end-December (13.5%) and is currently as low as 5.0%.

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The downturn at the top of the green curve on the left-hand chart below is promising and suggests that in terms of COVID-19 cases the fifth wave could have peaked, but it will take some time before hospitalisation, ventilation, and death figures start reflecting this.

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The left-hand chart below shows what happened a year ago. The time series spans between 1 Nov 2020 and 28 Feb 2021, and the same dates in 2021 and 2022 are indicated by the red ovals. The black oval shows when the turnaround this year occurred.

What do the curves tell us? Based on 7-day averages,

  1. the rise in the number of active cases continues at a diminishing rate (it has actually come to 0%);
  2. the number of hospitalisations is doing the same (keeps rising but to an ever smaller extent);
  3. the accelerating rise in the number of ventilated Covid patients turned around and the increase is now slower.
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According to Gábor Zacher, head physician at the Hatvan hospital, the Omicron variant puts almost only the unvaccinated, as well as elderly, chronic patients into intensive care units. 

There is peace. There are hardly any patients in severe condition in the COVID wards. Those we treat in the intensive care unit are unvaccinated patients in 99% of cases,

he said.

More than 42,000 people have died of coronavirus-related diseases since the outbreak in the spring of 2020. That is the official figure. The actual number is way bigger.

The aggregate figure of Covid deaths between 1 August and 7 February is slightly lower in 2021/22 (12,042) than in 2020/21 (12,558). For a monthly breakdown of Covid deaths click here.

Note that excess mortality statistics (released by the Central Statistical Office, KSH) paint a more accurate picture of the severity of the coronavirus pandemic than the numbers published by the coronavirus task force, but due to constant revisions the final (or close to final) mortality data will not be available for the period under review at least until late March.

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Cover photo: MTI/Attila Balázs

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