More Effective Strategies are Required to Strengthen Public Awareness of COVID-19: Evidence from Google Trends
34 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2020More...
Background: The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has posed stress on the health and well-being of people worldwide. Global public interest in this new issue largely reflects people’s attention to COVID-19 and their willingness to take precautionary actions. This study aimed to examine global public awareness of COVID-19 using Google Trends.
Methods: Using Google Trends, we retrieved public query data for terms of [2019-nCoV + SARS-CoV-2 + novel coronavirus + new coronavirus + COVID-19 + Corona Virus Disease 2019] between 31th Dec 2019 and 24th Feb 2020 in six major English-speaking countries, including the USA, the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Dynamic series analysis demonstrates the overall change trend of relative search volume (RSV) for the topic on COVID-19. The correlation between daily search volumes on the topic related to COVID-19 and the daily number of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 was analyzed.
Findings: Our studies observed the overall search trend of RSV regarding COVID-19 increased during the early period of observing time, and reached the first apex on 31th Jan 2020 in most countries. The highest increase speed of RSV occurred around 20th Jan 2020. People in the USA (3 days), the UK (10 days), Australia (10 days), and Canada (14 days) had a faster response speed toward COVID-19 than that in New Zealand (21 days) and Ireland (21 days). The duration of public attention in New Zealand (11 days) and Ireland (12 days) was shorter than that in the USA (27 days), the UK (23 days), Australia (22 days) and Canada (13 days). A slightly positive correlation between daily RSV on the topic related to COVID-19 and the daily number of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 was observed in most countries ( p <0·05). People across countries presented a various interest to the RSV related to COVID-19, and public awareness of COVID-19 was also different in various sub-regions within each country.
Interpretations: Current study reminds us that governments should strengthen the publicity of COVID-19 nationally, reinforce the public's vigilance and sensitivity to COVID-19, inform public the importance of protecting themselves with enough precautionary measures, and finally control the spread of COVID-19 globally.
Funding Statement: FW was funded by the grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81602115,81872683) for this work.
Declaration of Interests: FW reports grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China during the conduct of the study. All other authors declare no competing interests.
Ethics Approval Statement: The search query trend data gathered from Google trends was freely available information and fully anonymized. In the health care section, we performed this research according to the Helsinki declaration and adhered the recommendation of a current overview on Google trends.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Google Trends; novel coronavirus
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