And So it Came to Pass - One Week after Hungary Stages a Test-Case International Football Match …
This morning, the government website reported 1,322 new coronavirus infections, a number that beats the previous worst-case 24-hour period (1,070 cases on Sept 20) by 252 - or 23%.
This is just one week after 15,180 fans (and you can add to that the hangers on) watched Bayern Munich defeat Seville of Spain 2:1 after extra time in the UEFA Super Cup soccer final in the Hungarian capital.
This was a game which the European football body explicitly stated was a test for holding games with the paying public in attendance.
If you google “Coronavirus incubation period” you get, first up: “The incubation period of COVID-19, which is the time between exposure to the virus and symptom onset, is on average 5-6 days, but can be as long as 14 days.”
Coincidence or what? Sure, there have been outbreaks reported in prisons and elderly care homes this week - people who surely did not attend this match. It's also true that the average number of new infections over the past five days is around 750 per day – which is a reduction of about 110 on last week's numbers. So it could be a random spike.
It also appears true (note there is no independent check on this) that, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán keeps saying, the so-called National Consultation indicated that the public wants to avoid another lock-down (well, who wouldn't?) and wishes to keep the economy going (ditto, who wouldn't?).
However, the people were not asked if Hungary should be a test case for holding an international football game with spectators, including those following a team suffering one of the worst cases of second wave infections on the European mainland (that's Spain, in case you didn't know).
Interestingly, Mr Orbán, who, as everyone on the Budapest street will tell you, was the driving force behind this game, was strangely quiet about Hungary blazing yet another European trail by hosting this match. It's not clear to me if he even attended the game.
By the way, this morning the government also announced another 17 deaths of “sick” [people] with Covid-19. This is equal to the daily record of deaths, 17, set on April 18, at the height of the pandemic's first wave.
(BTW, I love how the authorities, without fail, label those that died as “sick” or “chronically sick”. I mean, of course they are sick once they've contracted Covid-19 - it's not as though, except by accident, healthy people normally die, is it?)
Here's a link to a 24.hu that shows charts of infections and deaths. The article is in Hungarian, but the charts are pretty easy to understand.
But back to that game. I think it's about time UEFA accepted that their “test case” game with supporters present was less than a good idea, almost certainly adding to the infections, if not the deaths, of Hungarians and, in all likelihood, some of the German and Spanish fans to boot.
But in order to determine if this assertion is true or not, perhaps the Basel-based football body would be willing to pay for an independent survey of those infected in Hungary by Covid-19 between September 24 and October 8 (ie 14 days after the game) to ascertain if any of those suffering attended, or were in any way physically close to anyone who did?
If then warranted, that august football body, remotely and comfortably headquartered in Switzerland, might be willing to issue an apology to the Hungarian people.
Because it's a dead cert, they won't be getting one from the Prime Minister's Office, comfortably headquartered in Budapest's Castle District - whatever evidence emerges that this game endangered Magyar lives.