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An Unexpected COVID-19 Hotspot Emerges In The Colorado Rockies
And the confirmed cases have continued to climb -- so much so that Eagle County's numbers have grown to the "hotspot" conditions found in much larger U.S. cities. As of Friday, there were 61 confirmed cases of the disease there, according to the state -- nearly as many as Denver in a county of around 55,000.

While those numbers alone made Eagle County the heaviest-hit county in the state, the disease is likely much more widespread than the confirmed cases let on. Between a hundreds-deep backlog of test results and the typical gap between contracting the disease and showing symptoms, public health officials haven't been able to track the true extent of COVID-19 spread.

Ski resort effect? The Austrian town of Ishgl seems to have played a similar role on the European continent.

The Austrian ski town that spread coronavirus across the Continent

The lively après-ski scene that draws millions to the town every winter proved to be a perfect incubator for the coronavirus. Authorities believe that busloads of European visitors departed the village known as the "Ibiza of the Alps" (and not in a good way) in late February, leaving with more than the usual mountain tan and hangover.

By the time Austrian officials realized the extent of the outbreak, the damage was done. Health authorities across Scandinavia have traced several hundred cases to Ischgl. On Tuesday, Norway said nearly 40 percent of the more than 1,400 infections in the country originated in Austria. National authorities believe hundreds of additional cases in both Austria and Germany are connected directly to Ischgl.

While Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has won high praise at home and abroad for his aggressive response to the coronavirus threat, critics say Vienna's sudden policy shift last week only occurred after it realized the situation in Tyrol had taken a dire turn. Despite early warnings from other countries about problems in Ischgl, Tyrolean officials resisted taking assertive action, fearing the negative impact on local business. The entire region's economy depends on tourism. Vienna didn't intervene.

In a few weeks, we'll find out about the effects of the thousands of people who stormed Florida beaches during Spring Break.

by Bernard on Sat Mar 21st, 2020 at 08:20:07 PM EST
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