How Americans are reacting to the coronavirus

Coronavirus and its symptoms — as well as N95 masks — are dominating Google searches, according to a data analytics company.

“Google searches are a clear indicator of issues that are important to consumers,” said Eugene Levin, chief strategy officer of Boston-based SEMrush. “With the increased volume of searches for ‘coronavirus’ over the past few months, it seems like Americans are taking concern of infection to heart.”


On Wednesday, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first American coronavirus case that is unrelated to travel or previous exposure. Also Wednesday, President Donald Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead the nation's response to the virus.

»MORE: First non-travel case of coronavirus confirmed in U.S.

SEMrush analyzed Google search volume on the topic to collect data on how much interest in “coronavirus” is growing in the U.S.

Coronavirus Outbreak in US 'Might Be Bad,' Warns CDC On Tuesday, CDC official Dr. Nancy Messonnier urged "the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad." Dr. Nancy Messonnier, via 'The New York Times' Secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, also made a serious statement regarding the coronavirus on Tuesday. Alex M. Azar II, via 'The New York Times' The secretary stated that more hospital ventilators and as many as 300 million masks will be necessary f

“We’re seeing new terms such as the debut of “Coronavirus Mask” in January, which indicates a consumer demand for these products,” said Levin.

Many national retailers such as Atlanta-based The Home Depot are limiting sales of the N95 mask to 10 per purchase.

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In January, more than 2.2 million people searched for masks on the internet, Levin said, which is 45.34 times higher than searches in December.

“The number of Google searches for N95 masks is five times higher than for medical masks,” Levin said, “one million for N95 masks to medical masks’ 200,000, which is a 39% increase in searches.”

Pandemic - What you need to know

Levin said “coronavirus mask” appeared as a new search term for the first time in January and almost immediately accounted for 49,500 searches per month.

“Walgreens, Walmart and Home Depot are the most popular places where people bought masks in January,” Levin said. “Searches for ‘buy a (medical/n95) mask near me’ rose sharply in January by 2,988%.”

»MORE: Meet the voice of America's fight against the deadly coronavirus 

Coronavirus as a search term accounted for more than 49 million searches in January, an increase of 75,000% from the month before. “Coronavirus symptoms” was January’s most searched query related to the topic, an increase of more than 611,900% from the month before.

January’s most asked question related to the topic was “what is coronavirus?” with more than 2.2 million searches.

»MORE: How to protect yourself against the coronavirus

“Unfortunately, searches for ‘coronavirus treatment’ have also increased a lot, by 93,6500% and account for 450,000 searches in January,” Levin said.