A yodeling concert is reportedly behind a large outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Switzerland, according to a report.
The concert, which took place in the rural Schwyz canton in September, was attended by some 600 people. Social distancing was involved but mask-wearing was not required, the Agence France-Presse reported.
The event is said to be behind a surge in cases in the area, with more than 1,200 cases of COVID-19 recently reported versus about 500 in mid-September prior to the event.
One local hospital official said the positivity rate has jumped from 30% to 50%, reportedly making it the highest contagion rate in all of Europe, according to the Daily Beast.
"We can't do anything about what happened with this yodeling group. We found out nine days after the performances that several people from the group were infected," Beat Hegner, the event organizer, told a local Swiss TV station, according to the Agence France-Presse.
Local hospital director Franziska Foellmi urged residents of the canton to wear masks despite the fact they are not mandated in all public places at this time.
"It's time we reacted. The explosion in the number of cases in Schwyz is one of the worst in all of Europe," the hospital’s chief doctor, Reto Nueesch, said, per the Agence France-Presse.
The news comes as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout the world has surpassed 40 million, with experts warning that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true impact of the pandemic.
The U.S., India, and Brazil are reporting by far the highest numbers of cases — 8.1 million, 7.5 million, and 5.2 million respectively — although the global increase in recent weeks has been driven by a surge in Europe, which has seen more than 240,000 confirmed virus deaths in the pandemic so far.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.