The most searched pandemic questions on Google

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This Thursday (11), marks the end of a year that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the pandemic of the new coronavirus, after covid-19 was detected in several continents and presented sustained transmission between people. Up to that day, there were just over 118,000 cases worldwide and 4,200 deaths, numbers that grew alarmingly in the weeks that followed.

Throughout this period, the internet was the main ally in the search for information about the disease caused by the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which still arouses doubts in many people, especially in relation to symptoms, treatment and ways to prevent it.

What are the most searched terms related to the pandemic on Google? Based on data from the Google Trends tool, PopSci has listed some of the main trends in research on the health crisis in the past 12 months in the United States.

“Hydroxychloroquine”

Initially appointed as a drug to treat and even prevent covid-19, recommendations subsequently withdrawn, hydroxychloroquine had an explosion of Google searches after then US President Donald Trump announced, on March 19, the interest in using it .

Searches for the drug have also increased on two other occasions in which the former US attorney spoke about it, as well as searches for the terms “covid 19 hydroxychloroquine” and “coronavirus hydroxychloroquine”.

“Masks”

The interest in masks in the search engine was slow at the beginning of the pandemic, but increased considerably after some states started to oblige the use of the accessory in the streets and in the commerce, around the month of July. At the beginning of 2021, the search for information about the rules and types of masks continued to be intense.

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“Mutations”

Since the first news about the emergence of variants of the new coronavirus, users of the platform wanted more information on the subject. According to the publication, the peaks of research were in May, when the topic was first discussed, and between November and December, a time when the British variant began to be commented on.

The terms “coronavirus mutations” and “covid vaccine mutation” were also in high demand.

“Social distancing”

One of the first guidelines given by health authorities after the pandemic was declared was to maintain social distance, with the aim of reducing the spread of the virus. Searches for the topic were intense during the initial weeks of the crisis, but they have drastically reduced over time.

It also draws attention to the search for the term “an end to social detachment”, revealing people’s anxiety for the rules to be removed soon.

“Vaccines”

Interestingly, searches for the word vaccine on Google only increased significantly in late 2020, when pharmaceutical companies were close to asking for authorization for the emergency use of their immunizers in the U.S.

They were accompanied by research on the side effects of the vaccine, possibly motivated by news of allergic reactions in vaccinated people in the United Kingdom, and on the vaccination schedule.

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