après-ski: the spread of coronavirus from ischgl through germany
The Austrian ski resort of Ischgl is commonly claimed to be ground zero for the diffusion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the ﬁrst wave of infections experienced by Germany. Drawing on data for 401 German counties, we ﬁnd that conditional on geographical latitude and testing behavior by health authorities, road distance to Ischgl is indeed an important predictor of infection cases, but — in line with expectations — not of fatality rates. Were all German counties located as far from Ischgl as the most distant county of Vorpommern-Rügen, Germany would have seen about 45% fewer COVID-19 cases. A simple diffusion model predicts that the absolute value of the distance-to-Ischgl elasticity should fall over time when inter- and intra-county mobility are unrestricted. We test this hypothesis and conclude that the German lockdown measures have halted the spread of the virus.