Swiss authorities have expressed concern about two yodeling concerts attended by 600 fans of traditional singing now known to be events superior to COVID-19 that have turned a small Swiss canton into a hotspot. The second wave of the epidemic is sweeping Europe.
People who attended indoor performances in late September in the Canton of Schwyz were advised to social distancing, but not required to wear masks that would hinder their singing.
The positive rate for the small village area is now 50%. (Which means half of all tests came back positive), making it the highest infection rate in all of Europe, with the number of cases doubling every day over the past week.
Pete Hegner, who organized the events, told a local Swiss TV station that nine days after the event, they discovered several people from the main group of yodelers who attended the two concerts. “We can’t do anything about what happened with this jodel group,” he said.
Face masks are still not needed in the canton, but local hospital director Franziska Voelme has asked people to wear them to stop the spread of the highly contagious virus and relieve the stress of the district hospital, which has been under stress.
“The time has come for a reaction,” the hospital’s chief physician, Ritu Noisch, said in the same TV interview. “The explosion in the number of cases in Schwyz is one of the worst in all of Europe.”
COVID-19 infections soared across Europe, with France recording 30,000 new cases within 24 hours on Thursday, leading to curfews in cities like Paris. Italy also saw higher numbers of infections than during the first wave, when the country was the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe.
Authorities are blaming the reopening of schools and the apparent reluctance of young people to take the epidemic seriously in the new wave. Attempts to clamp down on nightlife have so far done little across the European Union to mitigate the spread of the disease.
While yodelling is also popular in Austrian Tyrol and other alpine regions, the Swiss canton is the first known example of traditional practice linked to the COVID-19 outbreak.