Looking Back on 2020: Top COVID-19 Search Terms

Dec. 23, 2020 — In an standard December, you’d hope to see lighthearted yr-conclude roundups primarily based on lookup tendencies — the phrases or phrases most often searched for around the system of the yr. These lists provide us an fascinating lens to perspective modern history.

At WebMD, those preferred lookup phrases often relate to fat loss options or the condition that struck a specified movie star that yr. But this is no standard December. In 2020, no health and fitness subject has been as sought-out as data about COVID.

We published our initial tale about the mysterious outbreak of a new coronavirus in Wuhan, China, on Jan. ten. Since then, WebMD has operate hundreds of news tales, explainers, blog posts, and video clips about it. With just about every new discovery regarding the virus, visitors have appear right here in lookup of data.

Simply because COVID-19 dominated lookup tendencies, we targeted this year’s leading-ten-searched list on phrases are straight related to them. Here’s the list, together with a glance at why so several men and women needed to find out about these specific subjects:


  1. Coronavirus / What is coronavirus? It is no surprise that the most standard dilemma about the virus is the most common COVID lookup phrase for the yr. Until eventually 2020, most of us had in no way even read the phrase “coronavirus,” though these viruses have been all-around for several, several decades. The common chilly can be caused by just one of the milder sorts. Even though immediately after this yr, most of us would not complain if we in no way read the phrase all over again.
  2. Coronavirus signs and symptoms / COVID-19 signs and symptoms: When a new, fatal virus becomes a pandemic, men and women have to have to know which signs and symptoms to check out for. COVID’s signs and symptoms appeared identical to the flu at initial, with fever, tiredness, and a cough most common. But as time went by, new effects emerged — we now know the infection can cause the loss of smell or style, an upset tummy, and even a stroke. And then there are the fewer common complications caused by COVID, like pinkeye, fainting, and destruction to organs, such as the lungs, heart, kidneys, or liver. Most puzzling of all: Some men and women who’ve been contaminated have no signs and symptoms at all, although they can continue to unfold the condition.
  3. Hydroxychloroquine: In some cases, an existing drug turns out to do the job superbly on a new condition. Other occasions, like with hydroxychloroquine, theories get ahead of science, with puzzling benefits. Back again in March, COVID-19 was too much to handle hospitals in New York Metropolis and in other places. Men and women were being terrified and hoping for a speedy overcome. That’s when some health professionals touted hydroxychloroquine, already approved for treating malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, as a prospective overcome. President Donald Trump tweeted that collectively with yet another drug, it could be “one of the largest recreation changers in the history of medicine.” A handful of days afterwards, just one man died immediately after mistakenly taking an additive with a identical title applied in aquariums. In late March, the Fda granted an crisis use authorization (EUA) for hydroxychloroquine to take care of COVID-19. Profits of the drug rose sharply immediately after Trump announced he was taking it as a preventive measure. That led to shortages for lupus sufferers who rely on the drug to reduce flare-ups. The entire mess came to an uncomfortable conclude when the Fda reversed system and revoked the EUA in mid-June, immediately after the drug unsuccessful to prove protective and caused heart rhythm complications in some sufferers.
  4. Dexamethasone: As inadequately as issues went with hydroxychloroquine, yet another existing drug remains promising — but only in severe circumstances. Dexamethasone is a kind of corticosteroid. So significantly, research have revealed that for critically unwell sufferers, it cuts the loss of life fee by about just one-third. The Countrywide Institutes of Wellbeing now recommends it for sufferers who have to have supplemental oxygen or have been set on a ventilator. When Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, he obtained the drug, which prompted speculation about how unwell he genuinely was.
  5. Normal physique temperature: Fever is the most common symptom of COVID, so these days, several shops and workplaces will acquire your temperature just before letting you inside. But what, particularly, is the appropriate number? It turns out that ninety eight.six F is no for a longer time thought of the “normal” physique temperature. For most adults, it variations throughout the working day and ranges any where from ninety seven F to 99 F. Babies’ standard temperatures operate a minimal higher, from ninety seven.nine F to a hundred and one.four F.
  6. Indicators of melancholy: Ok, so this just one is not strictly COVID-related. But it created the leading-ten list simply because fees of melancholy have tripled in the U.S. considering that pre-COVID occasions. As a place, we’re dwelling as a result of the most demanding period several of us will ever expertise. Financial woes add, but so do dread and isolation. And immediately after ten months of dwelling in a variety of phases of lockdown, COVID malaise is rampant.
  7. How long does COVID-19 stay on surfaces? Think back again to the early days of the pandemic, when no one genuinely comprehended how the coronavirus unfold. Preliminary research located that dependent on the surface area, the virus could stay any where from a handful of hours to a number of days, so of system we all rushed out to invest in disinfectant. Remember that viral movie, in which a doctor shown how he meticulously wiped down and sanitized his groceries? We now know that level of treatment is not essential — the virus spreads primarily as a result of the air — but for a although it appeared as if simply just touching contaminated surfaces may be adequate to make you unwell.
  8. How several men and women die from the flu just about every yr? This seems like a perfectly standard dilemma, till you issue in the misinformation which is been clouding our country’s COVID reaction. Numerous COVID deniers liken it to the flu, and think mask limitations are an overreaction. But when you compare the quantities, COVID proves significantly more fatal. Between eight,two hundred and 20,000 People in america die of the flu just about every yr. The World Wellbeing Business estimates the flu’s mortality fee is all-around .1%. But with COVID, the U.S. will have more than 300,000 fatalities this yr. Scientists estimate the mortality fee is more than ten occasions higher than the flu’s, at 1.1%. (One particular little upside of the pandemic: It appears the flu vaccine and COVID protocols have effectively minimized the flu outbreak this yr.)
  9. Sore throat and COVID: In most decades, a scratchy throat would not be cause for problem — you’d believe you caught a chilly, or most likely you were being owning an allergy assault. But a sore throat is a common symptom of COVID, and it’s really hard not to stress when any symptom appears. There are variations amid colds, the flu, allergy symptoms, and COVID, although, so a sore throat by yourself does not always indicate you have to have a COVID exam.
  10. Cytokine storm: The thought of a “cytokine storm” was new to most of us till the spring of this yr, when scientists realized that some seriously unwell COVID sufferers knowledgeable just one. The phenomenon existed long just before COVID-19 — it transpires when your immune method overreacts and creates an surplus of infection-preventing chemicals known as cytokines. This can cause a lot of destruction to your essential organs and lead to sepsis or even loss of life. As is common with a new condition like COVID-19, scientists are continue to finding out about how common cytokine storms genuinely are in critically unwell sufferers.


Countrywide Institutes of Wellbeing: “Therapeutic Management of Individuals with COVID-19.”

World Wellbeing Business: “Coronavirus condition (COVID-19): Similarities and variations with influenza.”

Fda: “FDA cautions in opposition to use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 exterior of the clinic environment or a medical demo because of to threat of heart rhythm complications.”

YouTube: “COVID-19 foods basic safety guidelines,” Jeffrey VanWingen.

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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