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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

Coronavirus Hungary: A Tough Autumn and Winter

Govt Website Covid-19 Summary Today

It's beginning to sound like a broken record (vinyl, as used to be) – and yes, I know it's similar or even more desperate in many countries, not least the Czech Republic, - but it's certainly getting worse and worse here in Hungary.

And since some people seem to appreciate these reports, I feel somewhat compelled to summarise the week's news, because the government website rarely gives any context.

Take Saturday, for example, when the website duly noted, without any special comment, that the number of new infections (for Friday) totalled just under 1,800 – 1,791 to be precise.

It reported this in its standard format, as it would if the number were 79 or 179, when in fact it broke the 24-hour record by 400 plus sufferers, so the casual reader would have been left unawares as to the unprecedented situation regarding Covid-19 in Hungary.

To be clear, last week Hungary reported a record-breaking 8,626 new cases of Covid-19 sufferers, which equates to 1,232 new infections per day.

These figures swamp the previous week's record numbers of 6,789 in total for an average of 970 per day.

Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian Prime Minister, said on Friday: “We are looking at a tough autumn and winter, but the health-care services are ready for the challenge (literally 'standing up to the mud')”. Sounds good, but I'm not so sure about the last bit.

Last week saw 188 deaths from the virus (including two days, Friday and today, when a new record of 33 were reported as deceased), pushing the cumulative total past the 1,000 threshold to a total of 1,142 as of this morning.

Currently there are 31,060 active infections, a 20% rise on last week's total of 25,862. Within these developments, it's clear the largest rises, both in hard numbers and relatively, are in the provinces.

Budapest saw a rise of 13.7% in the week to 9,763 active cases, while the provinces saw a jump of 23.3% to just under 21,297.

And, to boot, these numbers come in a week when the authorities have admitted the figures are depressed. The government-funded Hungary Today candidly admitted on 12 October that the infections would be even worse, but “the country has reached the limit of its laboratory testing capacity”. (My thanks to KW for that snippet.)

Currently we have 1,712 C-19 patients being treated in hospital, of whom 179 are on respirators. There are 25,734 individuals under quarantine across Hungary.

I could do more, but I've got a deadline to meet.

Are we looking at a tough autumn and winter? I'd say the PM could definitely be telling the truth when he wrote that.

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