When did Hungarian hospitals run out of capacity?
First the usual stuff and then the ‘surprises’
Let’s take a look at the usual graphics first, then some “surprises”.
With 199 new cases, the official number of coronavirus infections stands at 806,790.
8 people died yesterday from coronavirus-related illnesses, bringing the death toll to 29,904.
About hospital capacities
442 people are being treated in hospital with COVID-19, and 51 of them are on ventilators.
Here are the same charts but only for the last three weeks.
And the next one, showing 7-day averages, is even more interesting.
The green line shows the ratio of active cases in hospitals, and the orange line shows the ratio of patients requiring mechanical ventilation.
At the end of August, beginning of September, both lines were high and fell sharply, as there were a lot of new infections, but few of these people had to be hospitalized. And even those who were admitted were in good enough condition to avoid ventilation.
Then came the opening of the school in September and it had its impact in October. Lots of COVID-19 patients in hospital, more active cases in hospital. That’s because testing couldn’t keep up with the pandemic and authorities only detected severe cases that ended up in hospital. The green line rose to over 7%, and the orange line also rose as more COVID-19 patients in hospitals had severe symptoms and required mechanical ventilation.
And then all of a sudden both lines stop. The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus infection is still increasing, but a smaller share of those infected need professional care, and the share of patients requiring mechanical ventilation is also declining.
What else does this painting tell us? It shows that hospitals have reached the end of their capacity mid-November 2020, with 7,000 to 8,000 patients (officially) and 10,000 to 12,000, including wards full of patients suspected of coronavirus infection. At that time, some 600 people were on ventilators.
The next wall of healthcare capacity has been hit end of March 2021 to 12,000 to 13,000 (official) and 15,000 to 17,000 (actual) patients including 1,500 on ventilators. Note that none of these capacity caps are constant, as the whole system can be rearranged, and that was in the spring, which saved many lives.
Then came a decision “from above” that hospitals should resume operations as usual, and they began to discharge all COVID-19 patients who were not in serious condition, to continue their recovery. home. The orange line immediately drops to 12%, which means that only people with severe symptoms remained in the hospital. The orange line remains to this day in a range between 10% and 12%, and never before April had it been so high. Meanwhile, the ratio of COVID-19 patients in hospitals to active cases has fallen to 1%.
These changes have taken place so that the health system can function normally, and also because a significant proportion of active patients are only in this category on paper, because general practitioners are only catching up on their papers declaring them. healed. And, of course, the number of new cases is much lower now.
Observations on the positivity rate
Let’s take a look at Hungary’s testing practices and more. Congratulations to Balázs Pártos who provided such a good analysis of the charts and who is also the brains behind some of them.
Briefly on the test positivity rate: when a pandemic wave is on the rise, the shorter the daily averages (columns), the more they increase compared to the longer averages (rows). So when the virus is spreading faster, the top of these columns will be above the rows, and when a pandemic recedes, the columns will end below the rows. When they are broadly at the same level, there are trend reversals.
The pink line is the 3-day average positivity rate divided by the 21-day positivity rate (right scale). If this increase exceeds 100%, it signals the start of a new wave. When it is less than 100%, the pandemic recedes. The jumps indicate dramatic and abrupt changes.
There are four of these spikes or bumps on this curve
- early September
- end of October
- Early December
- early January.
Here are some food for thought on these bumps. The 1st, 2nd and 4th are clearly linked to schools: the start of the school year, the fall break and home transmissions, and the end of the winter break, the start of the school year. The stroke of luck at the beginning of December could also be linked to the autumnal truce. Children are going home, going back to school, high schools closed on November 11 due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, children are back home. Again, this is only a guess, but not a bad one at that.
The graph below shows virtually the same as the one above, but over a shorter period, between May 1 and June 10. The averages of the 3-day and 21-day positivity rates keep dropping, the orange line settles between 50% and 60%. As said before, as long as it stays below 100% and the 3-day test positivity average stays below the 21-day positivity rate average, you are fine. When the orange line starts to rise, there is a change in trend, but only in this ratio i.e. the rate of decline decreases, the improvement slows down but it is still an improvement.
About the vaccination campaign
And now for two (okay, one and a half) graphics on how Hungary is doing in its vaccination campaign.
The first shows the percentage of the Hungarian population who received their first and second doses, as well as a 14-day average of these figures. Why 14 days? Because you will have some level of protection 14-21 days after the first jab, and full protection 7-10 days after the second. Therefore, the lines give you a better idea of the actual “immunity” of those who have been inoculated. More precise figures can however be obtained by taking into consideration the effectiveness of the various vaccines administered.
The graph on the left is the same as the one above, but only for the past month (May 6 – June 6). The zones show the 14 day averages and the lines the normal percentage of the population vaccinated with the 1st and 2nd doses.
The graph on the right is a snapshot of immunization coverage as of June 10, i.e. the share of the population that can be considered [partly or fully] protected after their respective first and second jabs.
Cover photo: Getty Images