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As of today, the coronavirus epidemic is the deadliest in Hungary

Hungarian data mean that one out of every 370 people living in Hungary lost their lives to coronavirus disease. The high number of deaths is a regional feature: in addition to the Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Northern Macedonia, Slovakia and Slovenia are among the top ten countries in the relative death rate.

Covid-19 deaths per million people
country Number of deaths / million people
1 Hungary 2697
2 Czech Republic 2684
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2476
4 the black Mountain 2299
5 Bulgaria 2261
6 North Macedonia 2177
7 Slovakia 2070
8 Belgium 052 2
9 Slovenia 008
10 Italy 1954
11 United kingdom 1868
12 Brazil 1785
13 United States of America 754 1
14 Peru 1747
15th Poland 1679
Source: Worldometer, Portfolio

(According to international practice, we removed very sparsely populated areas from the list. Including Gibraltar still ahead, San Marino is in fourth place).

Our global position on the sad list can be traced back to several factors:

  • The health status of the Hungarian population,
  • The galactic epidemic, which interacts more and more later,
  • Systemic factors.

Sick Society

A large percentage of Hungary’s population suffers from chronic diseases that are dangerous for the Coronavirus. From the CSO analysis It turns out that it is30% of the population suffers from high blood pressure, about 13% suffers from high cholesterol levels, and 9% is treated for diabetes. Chronic disease buildup is also common.

Before the pandemic, in 2019, 48% of the Hungarian population reported having a chronic disease that had been present for at least 6 months, or assumed at least the same time period later. 87% of people with a chronic disease diagnosed by a doctor also take medication for their disease.

In light of the data, nearly 4 million people in Hungary are at particular risk due to their age or health condition. Incidentally, poor health is also a feature of the region in general, which justifies considering this factor as one of the causes of the high mortality rate.

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More and more epidemics of galaxy being delayed

During the three waves of the Coronavirus, we may have felt that the reaction time to the Hungarian epidemic was constantly deteriorating. In fact, several factors contributed to this phenomenon. In the spring of 2020, the epidemic reached Hungary relatively late, so when Europe was almost completely in panic, we were in a much luckier situation. The autumn wave is no longer late, so the epidemic has lagged with mass disease. This year, the faster spread of the British virus variant has caused an even greater backlog in defensive measures. There is a general consensus among health experts that although the burden on the system remained below the official level, in fact, in the second and third wave (mainly), care facilities in care facilities faced capacity shortages, which exacerbated the chances of survival.

This year, a new element has emerged in managing the epidemic, exacerbating the situation in terms of health: the government has not taken any drastic measures that would stop the spread of the virus rapidly or reduce its rapid spread. This shift is easy to discern from the statements of the prime minister. Before the startling spread of the British variant, Viktor Orban put it this way: “We save everyone” and “Hungary measures the success of defense in human lives.” In comparison, in the third wave, it was already estimated that due to the spread of the British variant, the epidemic could no longer be stopped, it was only slowed down, so vaccination is the only solution.

Four explanatory notes are required for the last evaluation:

  • After the emergence of the British boom, many countries have succeeded in suppressing the epidemic with strong austerity measures, so there is no doubt that it can only slow the spread of the virus.
  • The prime minister’s explanation lacks an explanation as to why, if the pandemic can really slow, it follows that it is not worth doing with more force.
  • Dependence on vaccines, with low vaccination rates, began several weeks ago, according to the international experience, He would have promised hope.
  • The new approach clearly shows that the government recognizes that mitigation means a slower course for the epidemic, but that the target system is actually more hybrid: economic and health considerations are mixed in. For now, it appears that the increased room for maneuver resulting from the pandemic mitigation will be immediately shifted by the government into a mitigation measure to aid the economy.
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The effect of this was illustrated by epidemiological mathematician Jirjeli Rust Stunning photography:

Source: Jirjeli Rust

It should be noted that the mixed objective system for managing epidemics, which, in addition to health aspects, shows the (perceived) economic cost, deterioration of community patience and the preservation of political popularity with great weight, not exclusive. Hungarian phenomenon. There are many examples of late tightening and early easing in the “withdrawal” strategy pursued by politicians of European mass democracies, at most, to varying degrees. Based on mortality data, the Hungarian epidemiological situation strategy is also among the worst performing.

Methodological issues

In recent weeks, Hungary’s high death rates have already sparked international interest, and so it has surfaced once again to what extent country data can be compared and whether the Hungarian situation is really that bad.

Dilute comments highlight two aspects:

  1. Coronavirus deaths are calculated using different methodologies in each country. Hungarians are among the strictest, if all were measured the same way, the ranking would definitely be different.
  2. The surplus death rate (that is, the number of people who died during the epidemic period than before in a similar period) does not show such a bad picture at all, we are finding more countries in Europe with higher values.

Both considerations improve the mortality picture in Hungary, but not by much, which could radically change the assessment of epidemic management. Without going into the methodological differences, we draw attention to two important factors:

  • In cases of deaths not only abroad, we are facing underreporting here in Hungary The excess mortality data also shows. Most of the time at the height of pandemic waves, it may be a feature that some victims have not had an official test result. (Thousands of “suspected cases of COVID-19” were taken care of during this period). That is, based on this (and taking into account many other factors), classification of deaths due to COVID-19 is no longer necessarily strict in practice compared to other countries.
  • Third wave numbers are missing from these comparative comparisons, although this plays a major role in bringing the Hungarian death rate to the fore. That is, when 2020 numbers are used to justify biased statistics, the degree of inaccuracy is completely overstated. It used to be that the curve of the epidemic actually reverses, but due to a late and moderate lockdown, even last week, Hungary recorded the highest population death rate in the world. Therefore, unfortunately, we cannot expect a fundamental change in our position in the sad ranking in the future.
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Cover photo: Arpad Kurucz / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images