Google searches can track and trend coronavirus outbreaks, says Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon

Alan Condon -   Print  |
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A Mayo Clinic study has found a strong link between Google keyword searches and COVID-19 hot spots in the U.S., according to an Oct. 22 news release.

Led by neurosurgeon Mohamad Bydon, MD, the Rochester, Minn.-based group's neuro-informatics lab studied Google Trends data to spot connections between searches and coronavirus outbreaks up to 16 days before cases were first reported in some states.

Dr. Bydon, a complex spine and spinal oncology specialist, said that Google Trends can be a useful tool, in combination with traditional tracking methods, to track and trend virus outbreaks in different states.

Predicting future hot spots will help direct "testing, personal protective equipment, medication" and other resources to affected areas.

The study analyzed the following 10 keywords:

- COVID symptoms
- Coronavirus symptoms
- Sore throat+shortness of breath+fatigue+cough
- Coronavirus testing center
- Loss of smell
- Lysol
- Antibody
- Face mask
- Coronavirus vaccine
- COVID stimulus check

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