'Pandemic' is 2020 word of the year

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Merriam-Webster has deemed "pandemic" its word of the year for 2020.

Merriam-Webster selected the word after conducting a statistical analysis of search traffic for words in its online dictionary. Searches for "pandemic" first increased Jan. 20, the date the first positive COVID-19 case was confirmed in the U.S.

Dictionary lookups for the word spiked 1,621 percent year over year on Feb. 3, the day the nation's first COVID-19 patient was released from Everett, Wash.-based Providence Regional Medical Center, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The biggest spike was March 11, when the World Health Organization officials declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Searches jumped 115,806 percent compared to the same day in 2019.

Other heavily searched words for 2020 include coronavirus, quarantine and asymptomatic, according to Merriam-Webster. To view the full list, click here.

More articles on public health:
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state: Dec. 1
24 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Dec. 1
Fauci warns of 'surge upon a surge'; Moderna seeks emergency approval for COVID-19 vaccine — 6 updates

 

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