News & Opinion | October 17, 2020 6:30 am

Swiss Yodeling Created Superspreader Events

A yodeling event took a very bleak turn recently

Eidgenössisches Jodlerfest Luzern, 1962
Eidgenössisches Jodlerfest Luzern, 1962.
ullstein bild via Getty Images

Yodeling is traditionally associated with traditional costumes, large vocal ensembles and a sometimes-unearthly music that might entice listeners or leave them bewildered. But a new report at The Daily Beast suggests that yodeling might have another dimension during the time of coronavirus: namely, the ability to act as a superspreader for COVID-19.

On closer reflection, this isn’t as strange as it seems — church choirs have also been under scrutiny for their ability to spread the pandemic. Writing at The Daily Beast, Barbie Latza Nadeau explored the ways yodeling contributed to a particularly nasty outbreak of COVID-19 in Switzerland.

In late September, Nadeau reports, over 600 people gathered for a festival of traditional music in the Schwyz canton — with a population of just over 160,000, 15,000 of which reside in the town of Schwyz. Participants were asked to socially distance, but masks were not mandated — which is where the trouble began.

“The small village area now has a positivity rate of 50 percent (meaning half of all tests come back positive), making it the highest contagion rate in all of Europe,” Nadeau writes — an absolutely chilling statistic. It’s considered to be part of a second wave of COVID-19 cases spreading in Europe at present.

Thankfully, these are also the only cases of the coronavirus linked to yodeling right now. Unfortunately, it’s still a reminder of how the pandemic can turn the events that people most enjoy into causes for alarm.

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