Swiss authorities express concern over two sing-along yodeling concerts attended by 600 fans of traditional singing now known as COVID-19 events that have become a small venue of a Swiss canton as a second wave of pandemic spread in Europe.
People who attend internal performances in late September in the canton of Schwyz are advised to walk socially, but are not required to wear masks that hinder their yodeling.
The small village area already has a positive rate of 50 percent (meaning half of all tests returned positive), making it the highest contagious rate in all of Europe, with case numbers doubling daily in the last week.
Beat Hegner, who organized the events, told a local TV station in Switzerland that they found out nine days after the event that many people from the main group of yodelers who attended the same concert were infected. “We can do nothing about what happened to this yodeling group,”; he said.
Face masks are still not needed in the canton, but local hospital director Franziska Foellmi has asked people to wear them to stop the spread of the highly contagious virus and put pressure on the hospital in the area, which is in under the strain.
“It’s time for our reaction,” Reto Nueesch said, the hospital’s chief physician said in the same TV interview. “The explosion in the number of cases in Schwyz is one of the worst in the whole of Europe.”
COVID-19 infections are on the rise across Europe, with France recording a whopping 30,000 new cases over a 24-hour period on Thursday, leading to curfews in cities like Paris. Italy, too, saw a higher number of infections than they did in the first wave when the country was the center of European proliferation.
Authorities blame the reopening of schools and seem to be a reluctance of younger people to take the pandemic seriously for the new wave. Attempts to clamp life at night have gone far enough across the EU to ease the spread.
While yodeling is also popular in the Tyrol region of Austria and other Alpine areas, the Swiss canton is the first well-known example of traditional practice linked to a COVID-19 explosion.