Coronavirus caseload is expected to remain high for another three weeks, the rector of Budapest’s Semmelweis University told public broadcaster Kossuth Radio on Tuesday.
Health-care services have had to be reorganised in all institutions, and doctors and other professionals have also been reassigned to meet increased demand, Bela Merkely said.
Semmelweis University has increased its coronavirus places to 1,200, with 150 ICU beds, he said.
Work is expected to be “harder” until “we can take a breath” around May, Merkely said.
Hungary can provide intensive care treatment for about 1,000 patients in normal circumstances, Merkely said.
“In wartime, such as we have now, I’m sure we can double that number,” he said.
Merkely said he expected the number of ICU patients on a ventilator to hit 1,400 and decline from there thanks to the continued inoculation campaign and a growing number of people gaining immunity by recovering from the disease.
The number of patients is extremely high at the moment, and a lot of people on ventilators are 40-50 year olds, he said, noting that new pandemic waves usually hit more mobile, younger generations harder first.
Commenting on reports that the deployment of AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been halted in a number of countries in response to blod clots causing severe health conditions in some recipients, Merkely noted that blod clot formation was a known side effect of the coronavirus itself.
“It’s the coronavirus we have to protect the public from, not the AstraZeneca vaccine,”
he said, adding that the British serum was an “excellent, effective and easily handled vaccine”.