... removing Skype App finally was not the end of the line. The real cause lied in security misconfigurations of various DCOM services, introduced when the October 2018 update was installed. Mostly had to do with the RuntimeBroker DCOM service, but a couple of other services were affected too.
The documents in https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/multiple-distributedcom-errors-system-freezing... and https://www.itexperience.net/2018/12/02/event-id-10016-fix-the-application-specific-permission-setti... give walkthroughs to solve the problem. Note that the respective processes may need to be repeated for DCOM services that are failing due to permissions.