The fifth wave of epidemics in Hungary? – What? Yet how and why?

Already wave 5? It is mentioned by many

The fourth wave is already stronger than the second wave, which raged in the same period last year, in terms of several indicators. Based on the latest research projections, the current wave seems to be peaking soon. Gábor Vattay is the head of the Department of Physics of Complex Systems at Eötvös Loránd University forecasts that are regularly shared with the Portfolio in his latest act wrote that the current wave could peak in early December (Cecília Müller, national chief medical officer, said 1-2 weeks). Recalling the processes of a year ago, the question arises: how and to what level does the fourth wave ring, and whether and from what level does a fifth wave start, as it happened in the transition between the second and third waves, from January 2021. Barely a year ago, the second wave could not completely subside (as, for example, after the third wave this summer), neither in the number of cases per day nor in the death figures. The epidemic curve (7-day moving average) of the newly registered daily infected data did not fall below the 1000-person level, and the 7-day moving average of daily deaths could decrease to 77 from the 177-person level seen at the peak of the second wave. And from these non-low levels, the curves rose steeply during the third wave.

Some domestic experts are already talking about the 5th wave. “Anyone who wants to know if there will be a 5th wave of the coronavirus epidemic needs to pay attention to Israel,” he said. Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University a In the days.

And based on the statements of the last 2 weeks, it seems very much that the government is already considering the possibility of a 5th wave. Gergely Gulyás Minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office a november 18-i Government information he said that “further waves of epidemics cannot be ruled out. In the event of a fifth wave of epidemics, the person who received the third vaccination will be substantially protected, as the protection effectiveness of the first two vaccinations will be radically reduced after half a year ”. Viktor Orban and last week in his radio interview on Friday also brought up this topic. Then he put it this way, there won’t be a fifth wave if everyone inoculates themselves.

Ferenc Jakab, professor of virology at the University of Pécs three weeks ago (the most recent, A variant named Omikron before its publication) drew attention to the need to “prepare for the emergence of newer, stronger variants and more infectious variants and to prepare for another wave”.

The understanding of the formation of epidemic waves was well illustrated by this figure published in Nature in February this year. This indicates the factors that have a chance of eliminating the coronavirus, ie when we can get rid of the virus. Based on the scenario analysis below, it is easy to see that there is a chance that this virus will stay with us for a long time. The only question is in what form.

The virus is not expected to go away, it will stay with us. Is it worth examining whether 1) immunity to vaccines or natural infection decreases over time? 2) if so, can vaccines prevent the transmission of infection 3) if immunity is not reduced, can the virus mutate to bypass the immune system? 4) if it cannot mutate that way, can it survive in an animal? 5) if the virus is able to mutate to bypass the immune system, then again, the question is whether the vaccine will block the transmission of the infection? 6) and finally the question of whether the vaccine is able to develop flock immunity against infection should be examined in the above “decision tree”.

Let’s take a look at two countries

When looking for foreign examples, Britain and Israel are typically mentioned by experts watching the epidemic closely than those who are ahead of us in more respects (vaccination, waves, transfection). The two countries are also an excellent example of how differently the fourth wave could turn out with different parameters. In Israel, the fourth wave of the epidemic has virtually disappeared, while the epidemic curve is high at the British level and experts have been sounding the alarm in recent weeks. In the island nation, however, deaths did not go away, unlike in Hungary.

What can we learn from foreign examples?

It is clear from the British and Israeli examples that the differences in the parameters that determine the course of the epidemic affect the characteristics of the epidemic wave and the outlook can also be identified from these. There is a consensus that a possible new wave of the Hungarian epidemic will depend on the following factors:

  • The protection of Hungarian society. This is partly influenced by natural defenses, i.e., how much immunity is provided during the third and fourth waves and how it decreases over time. In addition, vaccinations play an important role, especially in the case of another wave, specifically the third vaccination (it is clear that based on European examplesthat in addition to higher vaccination rates, there is also less loss due to the epidemic and coronavirus). Today, a consensus is beginning to emerge that, half a year after the second vaccination, measurements show that the effectiveness of vaccines against infection and re-infection is plummeting, further enhancing the role of third vaccinations. However, not only time can trigger the immunity of a society, but also the emergence of a new variant.
  • The negative effects of running out of protection are reduced by the introduction of the third vaccine and its growth rate. During the vaccination week, this factor is moved in a favorable direction fortunately and in the light of the beautiful figures of the government extended it for a week the period of the unregistered vaccination campaign.
  • Nor does it matter how decision-makers respond to the warning signs of the epidemic (or what relaxation strategy they choose as the situation improves). The British government he has been criticized for not acting in the meantime The Prime Minister of Israel is already on Friday announced the introduction of emergency measures due to the emergence of a more contagious African version of the coronavirus.
  • Perhaps the biggest risk from past processes is the new variant, which is it has also caused alarm in recent days. It has been registered by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern Omicront. Epidemiologist Beatrix of Russia a year April talk during which he pointed out that there would not have been a third wave if the British variant had not come. Barely 1.5 months later, in June this year (ie months before the start of the 4th wave) Director of the Center for Epidemiology and Surveillance at Semmelweis University held at the Portfolio event in his presentation he predicted that in the absence of adequate precautions, a fourth wave would come despite high vaccination. And he was right. We don’t yet know many things about the new variant called Omikron, such as basic information that how more contagious how devastating it is and how much it avoids the vaccine if it is bypassed, that is, how effective existing vaccines are against it. This one aspect alone can determine the final size of an epidemic wave.

Despite the vaccinations, this virus surprises everyone again and again

In the light of the corona virus, which is still raging in Hungary and throughout Europe, the last four waves can be stated:

everyone just runs after the virus, which can surprise decision-makers and entire countries over and over again.

In the recent period, even before several waves of epidemics have occurred, we have gathered what steps could be taken to avoid more and more waves, but it would not hurt to repeat them again:

  1. You have to be alert and stay alert. After the fourth wave has subsided, the signs of the start of the fifth wave must be observed. Part of this is epidemiological fieldwork, speeding up testing, and strengthening contact research that does not currently exist.
  2. It has to be done against the gradual decline of the protection of Hungarians. In this respect, the increase in the uptake of the third vaccination in the first week of unregistered vaccination is a particularly positive development. It is also not good news for the virus to spread later that many may have become infected during this fourth wave, and so natural protection forms a form of immunity.
  3. Earn and new virus variants should be researched, however, the last four waves are evidence that no solution has been found to this problem in Hungary. Just look at it do not have sequencing data from Hungary.
  4. A with wider data disclosure and more transparency communication can improve confidence in epidemiological measures and vaccines. The effectiveness of an austerity measure is not determined by when it is announced, but by the extent to which the population can identify with it.

Overall, then, it is clear that, unfortunately, there is every chance for the 5th wave. This is indicated by the waves of the coronavirus epidemic in the previous year and the seasonal nature of the infection, but the future of measures against the spread of the coronavirus epidemic and a new, more dangerous mutant may also play a role.

In the long run, however, we can be confident that sooner or later the current epidemic will become endemic, meaning that the most likely scenario may be that the virus does not disappear permanently, with only less destruction due to vaccination and naturally occurring protection. severely ill, who thus put less strain on the health care system and the mortality rate will not be so significant). In the medium term, countries and patients may be helped to fight the virus with the help of oral therapies, which have been announced these days to prevent a severe course of the disease.

Cover image: People arrived for vaccination at the vaccination point set up in the Nyírbátor clinic of the Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County Hospitals and University Teaching Hospital on November 26, 2021. The government is extending the vaccination action week from 22 to 28 November by one week, so those who want to be vaccinated will be available in 101 hospitals and specialist clinics across the country from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Source: MTI / Attila Balázs

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