Corona crisis in Ischgl: Ground Zero in the Alps

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Corona crisis in Ischgl: Ground Zero in the Alps


A number of tourists in Ischgl had been infected with the corona virus. The Kiel World Economic Institute has examined the importance of the Tyrolean location for the spread of the virus in Germany – the finding is clear.



© JAKOB GRUBER / AFP



Ischgl has now become the epitome of greed for profit and irresponsibility in Corona times. Already on March 5, the first warnings came from Iceland that the virus had broken out in the Tyrolean ski and party village. In Ischgl, however, there was still nine days left until the first quarantine measures, that was the time of the fun in après-ski bars.

The judgment has been made morally – but now scientists from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) have examined the actual impact that returnees from the ski resort had on the epidemic in Germany. The result: a big one. According to this, the Ischgl study underpinned the German corona distribution as “‘Ground Zero'”, according to a statement by the IfW, based on data from the Robert Koch Institute.

For the researchers, the Ischgl effect is particularly clear from a key figure: how far is the journey from cities and communities in Germany to Ischgl – and how high was the infection rate there later.

The closer, the more affected

“Even a ten percent shorter journey to Ischgl increases the infection rate by an average of nine percent,” said IfW President Gabriel Felbermayr. “The other way around, this also means that if all German circles were as far away from Ischgl as the Vorpommern-Rügen district, there would be almost 50 percent fewer infections with the corona virus in Germany.” The influence that the proximity to Ischgl has on the infection process did not change over time – the closer, the more cities and districts are affected.

No other corona hotspot has had a similar effect to that of Ischgl. Neither in Alsace nor in Heinsberg in Germany can proximity be translated so clearly into contagion risk.

With their study, the IfW researchers see the thesis confirmed that the slow reaction to the first indications in Ischgl was “fatal”. Data from March 20 showed that a third of all cases in Denmark and one sixth of all corona infections in Sweden were due to Ischgl.

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