May 22, 2020 - Economy & Business

"Covid" catches up to "coronavirus"

Data: Google Trends; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: Google Trends; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Searches for 'covid' are beginning to catch up to 'coronavirus' and have surpassed it in some states as the top term users are entering on Google, according to Google Trends data.

Between the lines: The gap has shrunken considerably since March when 'coronavirus' was searched five times more than 'covid'. In the past week there have been just 1.2x more. 'covid-19' and 'virus' lag way behind both.

Alaska is the most popular spot for 'covid', which also surpasses 'coronavirus' in 9 other states: Minnesota, Colorado, Kentucky, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

  • The mid-Atlantic is a 'coronavirus' stronghold with Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware registering the highest shares.

What's going on: Total searches about the virus peaked in mid-March, with 'coronavirus' topping out on March 15. Since then, it has decreased more than 7x.

  • 'Covid' peaked in the last week of March, but its decrease has been much less pronounced and is now nearly on par with 'coronavirus'.
  • Searching for the latest about the pandemic appears to be a wake-up ritual — hits for each term spike in the early morning.

'Corona' is the next most-popular shorthand — its searches are higher than 'virus', 'covid-19' or 'rona' — and not because of the beer: 'corona' doesn't register in the Google Trends comparison before February.

  • New Jersey, California, Connecticut and New York are the most popular spots for 'corona'.
  • In the nation's capital, they embrace scientific formality more often: 'covid-19' gets searched more frequently in Washington D.C. than anywhere else.

Note: Google Trends data cited is recent as of Friday afternoon. All terms researched are not case sensitive.

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