Lookups spiked 900% on February 24, 2020
Surge of Hundreds of New Cases of Coronavirus Around the World Raise Fears of Pandemic
— (headline) The Weather Channel, (weather.com), 24 Feb. 2020
The World Health Organization says it doesn't yet consider the deadly coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic. While there have been more than 77,000 cases of COVID-19 (the official name of the illness) and more than 2,600 deaths, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said we aren't yet "witnessing the uncontained global spread of this coronavirus." However, he added that the virus has pandemic potential.
— Carrie Mihalcik, CNET, 24 Feb. 2020
A pandemic is “an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population.” Pandemics differ from epidemics and outbreaks; the latter (outbreak) is a sudden rise in the incidence of a disease and typically is confined to a localized area or a specific group of people, and the former (epidemic) is an outbreak of contagious disease that has become more severe and less localized, quick-spreading and affecting many people. A pandemic is a widespread epidemic.
This influence he designates more properly “pandemic” than “epidemic,” and in conformity again with the language of Dr. Watson, “he calls these successive waves pandemic waves.”
— The American Journal of the Medical Sciences (Philadelphia, PA), Oct. 1866
Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.