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I understand that the genitive inflection of 'das Institut' may be either 'des Instituts' or 'des Institutes'. I have found an article where both forms are used, and I'd like to understand why they are not consistent. Is this an error, or intended stylistically - and if the latter, what is the reasoning?

Der Chef des Robert Koch-Institutes, Lothar Wieler, hat an Bürgermeister und Krankenhäuser appelliert, ihre Krisenpläne zu aktivieren. Die Coronavirus-Epidemie stünde in Deutschland erst am Anfang, nun seien von allen Verantwortlichen entschlossene Maßnahmen nötig.

Die Zahl der Infizierten in Deutschland ist nach Angaben des Robert-Koch-Instituts auf 1139 (Stand Dienstagmorgen) gestiegen. Die Zahl der weltweit diagnostizierten Infektionen mit dem Coronavirus liegt bei mehr als 110.000.

Note that the article published at this URL has been edited since I copied and pasted the above extract - the first paragraph has been deleted.

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    Simple typo, usually you use one or the other in one text, not both – Torsten Link Mar 10 at 17:16
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    @TorstenLink I agree since the two variants are contained in the same article. However, we find lots of such variants (e.g. "wegen des Abstandes" vs. "wegen des Abstands"). Spontaneously, I'd say that the "es" option is more formal and is likely to be preferred in official written contexts. – Nico Mar 10 at 17:38
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    I agree, that -es sounds more formal, but both ways are usual. The error is just to mix them up in one article – Torsten Link Mar 10 at 17:40
  • @TorstenLink: Ich sehe da keinen Fehler und kann nicht nachvollziehen, wie jemand der nicht der Autor ist, wissen will, dass das ein Tippfehler sei. Gemeint ist wohl ein Flüchtigkeitsfehler. – user unknown Mar 10 at 21:29
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    Tippfehler / Flüchtigkeitsfehler: ist doch lang wie breit, so lange wir uns einig sind, dass es wahrscheinlich ein Fehler ist und deshalb keiner Interpretation bedarf. – Torsten Link Mar 10 at 21:40
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As you said, both variants are correct, so there is no typing error.

duden.de has an article when to use "-s" or "-es". It says

Bei zahlreichen [...] Substantiven im Maskulinum und Neutrum sind grundsätzlich beide Formen möglich, häufig spielt der Satzrhythmus eine Rolle.

So it's more or less a matter of personal style, when to use "s" or "es". There are some recommendations (e.g. -es when there is a Fugen-s like in des Jubiläumsjahres)

But from my point of view you will find the answer to your question right in the headline. Your article is in fact a live blog written by

Kai Portmann, Gloria Geyer, Inga Barthels, Sylvia Lundschien und Fabian Löhe

with each author writing in their own style and maybe one (distracted) proof reader in the background.

EDIT:

The post you are citing wasn't deleted. As with every other ticker/live blog it was pushed back by newer posts. You can still find it by clicking the "Weitere Beiträge"-button at the end of the page a few times. It was written by Benjamin Reuter, Timestamp: "10. März 2020 10:10".

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  • Thank you, a thoughtful and considered answer. I’m glad that I included the URL of the article, I hadn’t observed that there is the possibility of multiple authors. – Stephen Hartley Mar 11 at 1:10

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