COVID-19: New cases down, hospitalisations, ventilation up in Hungary

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If you're still among the few people that are interested in coronavirus statistics in Hungary, local authorities do not let you down, they keep finding ways to make dull official statistics interesting. In sum, the number of new COVID-19 cases dropped over the six days up to 10 January, while there was a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals and on ventilator.
koronavírus

Hungary's official government website sharing epidemiological information has been taken off the web as of 1 January 2023. They did not just simply stop to provide updates, the website (koronavirus.gov.hu) is no longer available.

Covid statistics are currently provided to state-run newswire MTI that is generally available only to the press. The move has further worsened the transparency of already scarce and unreliable information about the spread and impact of coronavirus in Hungary.

Recent data from some countries in Europe are starting to indicate the growing presence of the new XBB.1.5 recombinant virus that has already been spreading rapidly across the United States, the World Health Organization warned on Tuesday. They urged vigilance, continued sequencing and the sharing of detailed and regular information.

There is a host of Covid-related information unavailable in Hungary, not just sequencing but even the number of tests performed.

Healthcare providers in Hungary no longer need to report COVID-19 infections confirmed by laboratory testing (rapid antigen test or PCR) to the communicable disease reporting system. However, they still must continue to record all such test results for SARS-CoV-2 virus in the Electronic Health Services Space (EESZT), as well as COVID-19 vaccination. 

The vaccination statistics also turned out funny over the last six days (see below). It's six days instead of seven, because the last (and small) batch of epidemiological data were shared with MTI with a one-day delay last Thursday instead of Wednesday.

Anyhow, here are the changes in the key statistics for the past four weeks. As you can see, the number of new cases and Covid-related deaths dropped, but the number of people hospitalised and put on ventilator due to coronavirus shot up after continuous decreases over the previous weeks. (Note that this time we compare data for six days with data for eight days, which somewhat distorts the changes and not in a good way.)

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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 5,054 fatalities behind Bulgaria (5,571) and Peru (6,484).

Here are a few charts about the key indicators that show the main developments in the pandemic since mid-May 2022:

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The 'On ventilator / In hospital' ratio, which remained high after a jump a week ago, almost doubled this time, reaching 5.0% after 2.4%. The 300% leap in the number of coronavirus patients in need of (invasive) mechanical ventilation comes after a suspicious 0% w/w change reported a week ago.

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 slight downward trend in the former and a moderate upward trend in the latter. The surge in the former ratio two weeks ago (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 eight days to 4 Jan and doubling in the six days to 10 Jan. Also the number of deaths dropped 9% w/w two weeks ago and 37% over the last six 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 become so popular again

After a total of 563 COVID-19 jabs administered over the eight days up to 4 January, 2,849 doses were administered in the last six days. The former showed a 82% w/w decline and the latter a 404% jump. You decide which one is more likely, although you have to take into consideration that the eight days to 4 Jan included the holiday season.

The daily average jumped to 406 from 80, but still did not reach 451 a week 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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