Mayo study: 10 Google search terms predict COVID-19 hotspots

Mayo Clinic researchers examined Google Trends search terms amid the pandemic and found the keywords related to COVID-19 correlated with outbreaks across the U.S.

"Our study demonstrates that there is information present in Google Trends that precedes outbreaks, and with predictive analysis, this data can be used for better allocating resources with regard to testing, personal protective equipment, medication and more," Mohamad Bydon, MD, a Mayo neurosurgeon and principal investigator at Mayo's Neuro-Informatics Laboratory, said in a health system news release.

Researchers at the Rochester, Minn.-based health system found Google search terms related to COVID-19 were correlated with outbreaks up to 16 days before the first cases were reported in some states. The study examined 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

Mayo now has a COVID-19 tracking tool reporting the latest data on COVID-19 by county, and adding the Google Trends data has boosted the health system's ability to forecast case surges and declines.

More articles on data analytics:
U of Texas COVID-19 data model projects El Paso to exceed hospital, ICU capacity within 3 weeks
Tampa General aggregates data-reporting for 51 hospitals in COVID-19 data exchange
Wisconsin halts COVID-19 reporting to upgrade computer system

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