Coronavirus in Hungary - More Unwanted Record Numbers
Alas, another week of bad news on the coronavirus front, with several records broken.
We had 1,374 new infections on Friday – a new peak, beating the 1,322 of October 1. This helps bring the total recorded infections for the week to 6,789, an average of 970 per day.
Cumulative Covid-19 infections by county
across Hungary - published by the govt
today. Current active infections total 25,862.
To put this in context, may I remind readers that in the worst days of the pandemic in April the average daily total hovered around 110 - 115 cases, and that it took until August 31 for the cumulative number of infections to surpass 6,000. Granted, many experts believe that the cases registered in the first months fall well short of the real numbers because of very limited testing, but we are now experiencing in excess of 6,000 every week in Hungary. Now, too, the number of deaths is reaching new records, with 132 registered this week, including 24 on Tuesday, October 6 – a new peak for a 24-hour period. The total deceased with Covid-19 is now 954.
True, we are not alone in the region: the Czech Republic, which coped better than Hungary in the spring, is currently reporting far worse figures, but ... Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister, told Hír TV on Wednesday: “We’re preparing for a worst-case scenario in which 200,000 Hungarians could be infected at the same time. Their care would require 16,000 hospital beds and 800–1,000 ventilators.” As one of my Hungarian correspondents – let's call him Gábor, living in self-imposed exile in western Europe for some years – commented to me recently: “I think sadly they gave up on stopping Covid (they don't test much), so Hungary goes the Swedish way, but it is not communicated like that as the public would get upset.” It has hit Gábor's family: his 36-year old cousin here had been “really sick” with Covid-19 for a fortnight when we conversed. “I think it's incredibly stupid and reckless not making it easy to test people … [while] wasting police force’s time and energy to go after healthy people who return from abroad, like my parents after visiting us,” he opined. In truth, I'm not sure I agree on the police checking: without it, I fear the irresponsible one or two could, potentially, wreak epidemiological havoc around the country.
Sadly, however, his final thought may be be in line with how many Magyar's are thinking: “Anyway, I can't do much about this nonsense in my home country, just lament and watch,” he commented. Finally, a couple of observations on how the authorities, and their lackeys in the 'approved' media, massage the news. The official government announcement on Saturday stated in its normal deadpan style that infections on Friday totalled 1,374 – quietly silent (again) that this was a record number. Yet today, when reporting the deaths the editors felt compelled to note that of the 21 deaths, “17 of whom were above 70 years”. Get the hint, readers? Similarly, Hír TV host Andrea Földi-Kovács initiated her interview with PM Orbán last Wednesday, she said: “A record number of new infections have been registered in several countries,” skillfully avoiding any specific reference to Hungary in this matter (which had broken it's previous daily record a week earlier) and – even more notably – ignoring the morning's main Covid-19 related news, viz the record-breaking 24 deaths in Hungary from the previous day. The authorities here may not be tampering with the recorded numbers, but they certainly have subtle ways to present them in favourable light.
For latest data in Hungarian - see https://koronavirus.gov.hu/#/
Have a good week and please stay safe, folks.