COVID-19: Key stats show suspicious improvement

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Hungary's official website publishing weekly (previously daily) coronavirus statistics has been taken off the web as of 1 January 2023. It cannot even be accessed for archived data, it's gone. The only way for the press to obtain COVID-19 statistics is via state news agency MTI. Let's see what the latest report shows.

According to a report by state-run news agency MTI, authorities diagnosed 2,921 people with coronavirus infection over the eight days up to 4 January, which compares with 4,397 reported for the seven days up to 27 December 2022. The number of Covid-related deaths was 51 (vs. 56 previously), and there are 368 people (vs. 386) in hospital with SARS-CoV-2 infection, nine of whom are on ventilator (no change).

There's still no information about the number of tests that resulted in the aforementioned number of new cases. Scrapping the public Covid website - not just for future reports but entirely - further reduces the availability and transparency of coronavirus statistics. MTI is generally available only to the press. Given that the key statistical data continue to exist and provided to MTI, it is unclear why the official government website cannot keep publishing a single Covid report per week.

Here are the changes in the key statistics for the past four weeks.

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As regards the total number of Covid deaths, Hungary continues to beat everyone in the region. In terms of deaths per one million population Hungary is 3rd in the world, with 5,048 fatalities behind Bulgaria (5,569) and Peru (6,481).

Here are a few charts about the key indicators that show the main developments in the pandemic since mid-May:

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The 'On ventilator / In hospital' ratio was falling constantly since May, although there was a spike in late August. The ratio has been steadily rising since mid-Sept and reached 1.9% in mid-October, only to rather inexplicably drop to 1.1% after and then jump back to 1.8% and drop abruptly again to 1.3% two weeks ago. A week ago it jumped to 2.5% from 1.5%, and it is still high at 2.4%, but the downward trend remains intact.

The following chart shows the daily average number of Covid deaths as a percentage of Covid patients in hospital and on ventilator. There is a downward trend in the former and a slight upward trend in the latter. Last week's surge in the former ratio (which compares only with a fluke in mid-August caused by an inexplicable 62% drop in the number of hospitalised coronavirus patients) was induced by a 63% plummet, which was followed by a 5% drop over the last eight days.

The following chart uses an indicator conceived by Balázs Pártos, an enthusiast with a medical background who was keeping a very close eye on the pandemic and made rather accurate estimates based on the CFR/OCC ratio. CFR = [deaths / confirmed cases], OCC = [deaths / (deaths + recoveries)]. This may be one of the best (simple) indicators as to where the pandemic is headed.

COVID-19 shots appear to be 'out of season'

A total of 563 COVID-19 jabs were administered over the eight days up to 4 January, which compares with 3,159 on the seven days up to 27 Dec and 6,513 on the week before that.

The daily average fell to 80 from 451 eight days earlier and 930 before that.

"In Hungary, the outbreak is currently at a moderate level, due in part to the high level of vaccination," koronavirus.gov.hu said on 28 December.

The official statement released today says the outbreak in Hungary is currently "at a moderate level", thanks in part to the high level of vaccination. 

Well, here's a chart on the "high level of vaccination". The following vaccination rate data should be taken with a pinch of salt. The shots do offer good protection from severe illness and death, but their power to shield you from contracting the virus depends greatly on the type of vaccine - messenger RNA (mRNA), vector, protein subunit vaccine - the recipient's immune system (age, weight, underlying diseases, etc.), the time that elapsed since the last jab was administered, and obviously the number of shots received and immunity gained by infection. It would take a deeper look to determine actually how many Hungarians are well-protected against COVID-19.

Cover photo : Getty Images

 

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