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Pandemic waning, but virus still a threat, says medical university head

The coronavirus pandemic has been defeated and is waning in Hungary, but the infection remains dangerous, Bela Merkely, the rector of the medical Semmelweis University, said on Sunday.

The number of Covid patients is declining again, with just 40 people being treated with the virus at Semmelweis University, only one of whom is in intensive care, Merkely told public broadcaster Kossuth Radio.

At the same time, he said everyone should get two Covid vaccine doses as well as a booster. A fourth and fifth shot is worth considering for those more at risk, he added.

Merkely noted that 64 percent of Hungary’s population has received two vaccine doses and 40 percent a third. Those who are not vaccinated are not safe from the virus, he added.

Though Omicron and other variants of the virus can continue to spread in the autumn, eventually this virus will be treated like other upper respiratory infections, he said.

Coronavirus infections will continue to decline each year and Covid will become a seasonal disease, Merkely said, noting that the same had happened with the Spanish flu in the early 20th century.

Concerning the monkeypox virus, Merkely said case numbers were expected to rise, but the outbreak was unlikely to turn into a global pandemic the way coronavirus had.

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