Coronavirus: The Disease Googled ‘Round the World
The coronavirus from China (officially called COVID-19 and more commonly referred to as novel coronavirus) has spread faster than both its predecessor coronaviruses, SARS and MERS. There are confirmed cases on every continent, except for Antarctica, with over 90,000 cases and 3,000 death worldwide.
The disease has affected everything from international travel to the global economy, and millions of people around the world want to know how the virus will affect them. We recently conducted a Pollfish survey that shows 56% of Americans are concerned about getting the infection.
To better understand how the outbreak has affected health concerns around the world, we set out to learn which countries’ residents are harnessing Google to find answers.
We used Google Trends to find out which countries outside of China have searched for the term “coronavirus” the most in the last 90 days and weighted those numbers by population. Then we compared those findings to where there are current cases of the virus. All cases in the bullets below are according to the New York Times.1
Correlations and key findings
- Canada is googling “coronavirus” more than any other country, despite having only 33 reported cases.
- The United States didn’t even break the top 20 countries googling coronavirus the most, coming in at number 22. There have been 129 cases of the novel coronavirus in the US.
- Central and South America are home to 6 of the top 20 countries whose residents googled about the coronavirus; there have been nine reported cases of the virus in these regions.
- South Africa googled coronavirus the most out of all African countries but came in at 39 on our list. As of this writing, there are eight cases of the disease on the continent.
What you should know about the novel coronavirus
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global emergency due to COVID-19, so the situation is serious. We found that 57% of Americans think the coronavirus is more deadly than the flu,2 and so far this seems to be true with the flu having a death rate of 0.1% and the Coronavirus being around 2%. This could change as we learn more about the Coronavirus and find that many cases have gone undetected due to mild symptoms.
Coronaviruses have been around for years, and some are behind some cases of the common cold. Although COVID-19 is currently spreading in most countries, you can help protect yourself in much the same way you’d avoid the cold or flu:3
- Wash your hands often with soapy water.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your nose and mouth.
- If you or someone you know have cold- or flu-like symptoms, avoid close contact with other people.
- Disinfect surfaces you or others frequently touch.
There are many unknowns about the novel coronavirus, such as when we’ll have a vaccine, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help stop the disease from spreading. Take precautions to protect your health and avoid spreading germs to others.
Together, we can help give scientists and doctors a leg up against the coronavirus.
1 The New York Times, “Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak”
2 Live Science, “How Does the New Coronavirus Compare with the Flu?”
3 CDC, “Coronavirus Prevention and Treatment”
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