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Trending COVID-19 search terms from around the world

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JV Designs // Shutterstock

Trending COVID-19 search terms from around the world

With 4.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide as of May 18, the pandemic has plunged people everywhere into a deep state of uncertainty. Common behaviors pre-pandemic—like shaking hands with a colleague or hugging a friend—don’t comply with social distancing guidelines. Daily routines like popping into the grocery store for a pint of milk or riding public transportation to the office now seem almost unthinkable. Medical experts and epidemiologists aren’t sure how long the pandemic will last or how many lives will be lost. Though the U.S. federal government hopes a vaccine will be available by early 2021, it’s far from certain. Not to mention, conflicting social distancing recommendations from local, state, and federal governments have left many citizens feeling confused — and public health experts feeling worried.

Naturally, many people are turning to a tried-and-true source to find the answers to their coronavirus questions: Google. To gain insights into the most pressing, pandemic-related topics for Google users around the world, Stacker used Google Trends’ data on coronavirus daily search insights to compile a list of 50 unique search terms during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 50 terms listed reflect search trends from March 24 to May 4, 2020, from the United States and other parts of the world.

It’s not all practical information, like the location of testing sites or government recommendations for social distancing, either. Trending search terms include questions about the immune system, at-home activities for the whole family, and in-demand services like wine delivery. Read on to find out what Googlers around the world are looking for during these particularly uncertain times—and see if any of your top queries made the list.

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Regina Foster // Shutterstock

"Bread"

- Date trend was reported: March 24, 2020
- Location: U.S.
- Google Trends page

The idea of “anxiety baking” has been around for several years already, but it took on a new meaning with thousands of people staying home under new social distancing guidelines in March. With more people baking their own bread to pass the time—and stretch the amount of days they can go between grocery store trips—the United States has even experienced shortages of yeast and flour.

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fizkes // Shutterstock

"How to self-isolate in a shared house"

- Date trend was reported: March 25, 2020
- Location: U.S.
- Google Trends page

When you share a home with roommates or family members, figuring out how to stay isolated from someone who has been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 can be tricky. Google Trends noted that Michigan, Arizona, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York all had particularly high interest in this search term. Most of those states also experienced severe COVID-19 outbreaks in March.

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"Thank you essential workers"

- Date trend was reported: March 26, 2020
- Location: Worldwide
- Google Trends page

Even under social distancing guidelines, not everyone can stay home. Essential workers like health care professionals, first responders, public safety officers, grocery store workers, delivery people, and others still have to do their jobs every day. Interest in how to thank essential workers for keeping society running has seen a spike worldwide, with outlets like the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times publishing articles about how to express your gratitude.

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Allen J.M. Smith // Shutterstock

"Do we still pay rent during coronavirus"

- Date trend was reported: March 27, 2020
- Location: Worldwide
- Google Trends page

Just as searches about paying rent during coronavirus spiked, hashtags like #RentZero and #RentRelief also took off on social media, reflecting the growing demand for government rent relief programs. More than 30.3 million Americans filed unemployment claims between March 21 and April 25, likely leaving many of the jobless worried about paying rent.

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Ed Goodacre // Shutterstock

"Paris catacombs virtual tour"

- Date trend was reported: March 27, 2020
- Location: U.S.
- Google Trends page

Staying home has led many Americans to search for new ways to entertain themselves, and press coverage in outlets including House Beautiful and Time Out led to an explosion of searches for a free virtual tour of the Catacombs of Paris. The tour is still free to access on the Catacombs website.

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Margarita Shchipkova // Shutterstock

"Baby Shark wash your hands"

- Date trend was reported: March 30, 2020
- Location: Worldwide
- Google Trends page

Searches for the pandemic-inspired remix of Pinkfong’s popular kids song spiked nine days after it was released on YouTube. By the first week of May, the video had more than 15 million views. Google users in South Africa had the highest level of interest in the Baby Shark remix, followed by those in Ireland.

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Joshua Resnick // Shutterstock

"Binge-watching"

- Date trend was reported: March 30, 2020
- Location: U.S.
- Google Trends page

Staying at home is apparently leading many people to binge-watch their favorite TV shows and movies—and to search for the term. Searching for binge-watching leads to plenty of ranked lists of the best content to consume, from the best movies to stream on Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime to the best TV shows of all time

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fizkes // Shutterstock

"Coronavirus tips for workplace"

- Date trend was reported: March 31, 2020
- Location: Worldwide
- Google Trends page

For essential businesses that have been allowed to remain open during the pandemic, a huge question looms: How can employers keep workers safe? The Centers for Disease Control have created comprehensive guidelines that appear as the first result when searching for “coronavirus tips for workplace.”

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Wild 2 Free // Shutterstock

"What is Census Day?"

- Date trend was reported: April 1, 2020
- Location: U.S.
- Google Trends page

The COVID-19 pandemic coincided with the 2020 Census, the once-a-decade, constitutionally mandated count of the U.S. population. The U.S. Census Bureau made the decision in mid-March to suspend field operations until April 1, Census Day. Where you lived and with whom on Census Day determines how you’re counted in the census.

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Martins Pormanis // Shutterstock

"Wine delivery service"

- Date trend was reported: April 1, 2020
- Location: U.S.
- Google Trends page

Shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders ask residents to limit all trips outside the home for only the essentials, which led to increased interest in delivery services. Demand for all kinds of alcohol delivery has spiked during the pandemic, including wine delivery services.

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"Foods that boost immune system"

- Date trend was reported: April 2, 2020
- Location: U.S.
- Google Trends page

The increased focus on staying healthy likely translated into the interest in natural immune boosters, including oft-touted foods like turmeric, citrus, and broccoli. Still, medical experts maintain that no one food will truly boost your immune system—rather, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables ensures optimal, overall health.

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Luna Vandoorne // Shutterstock

"Meditation"

- Date trend was reported: April 3, 2020
- Location: Worldwide
- Google Trends page

Nearly half of all Americans believe the coronavirus pandemic is harming their mental health, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted March 25–30. An interest in self-care practices like meditation appears to be rising alongside our collective anxiety, with celebrities like Sean Combs even releasing their own guided meditations.

You may also like: Mindful meditation, yoga, and 23 other ways to relieve stress

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    "Drive by baby shower ideas"

    - Date trend was reported: April 6, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    Now that many in-person celebrations have been postponed due to social distancing guidelines, people unwilling to give up on their parties have started thinking outside the box for ways to celebrate. One popular formula? Drive-by parades, which have been used for birthdays, weddings, and even baby showers over the past few months.

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    Africa Studio // Shutterstock

    "How to dry clean at home"

    - Date trend was reported: April 7, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    Even the most reliable customers may be re-evaluating their weekly dry cleaning drop-offs during the pandemic. Whatever their reasons, searches for DIY dry cleaning techniques have soared. For those who are curious, dry-cleaning at home is possible but depends on the type of fabric.

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    Andy Manis // Getty Images

    "What time do polls open in Wisconsin"

    - Date trend was reported: April 7, 2020
    - Location: Wisconsin, U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    Although 315 million Americans were under stay-at-home orders at the time, Wisconsin moved forward with in-person voting for its presidential primary election April 7. The election was further marred by controversy when Gov. Tony Evers blocked in-person voting the day before, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the order, and the United States Supreme Court finally intervened to stop a plan for extending absentee voting.

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    JV Designs // Shutterstock

    "Bandana mask with hair ties"

    - Date trend was reported: April 8, 2020
    - Location: Worldwide
    - Google Trends page

    The White House released new CDC guidelines on April 3 that recommended all Americans wear nonsurgical face masks in public. With paper masks and cloth masks sold out at many retailers, people began looking for ways to make their own at home using a bandana and two hair ties.

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    juninatt // Shutterstock

    "Foster a dog near me"

    - Date trend was reported: April 8, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    After states enacted stay-at-home orders, many residents looked into enhancing their home lives by fostering pets. Rescue organizations and shelters across the country have seen around a 90% increase in foster applications, according to the Humane Society.

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    Vizzor Image // Getty Images

    "Do you have to wear a mask outside"

    - Date trend was reported: April 9, 2020
    - Location: California, U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    The constantly evolving guidance from local and national governments in regard to wearing face masks in public has led to some public confusion, especially in California. The state has struggled to keep stir-crazy residents from flocking to public spaces like beaches and has had to temporarily close state parks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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    Gallo Images // Getty Images

    "Sukuma Relief Fund"

    - Date trend was reported: April 9, 2020
    - Location: South Africa
    - Google Trends page

    In order to help small businesses devastated by the pandemic, South African billionaire Johann Rupert established the Sukuma Relief Programme with a donation of $1 billion. In just three days, the fund received more than 10,000 applications.

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    Edward Berthelot // Getty Images

    "Que veux dire recession?"

    - Translation: "What does recession mean?"
    - Date trend was reported: April 13, 2020
    - Location: France
    - Google Trends page

    After the economy contracted in two consecutive quarters, France officially entered a recession in April. The 5.8% loss in GDP in the first quarter of 2020 was the sharpest economic contraction in the country since World War II.

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    Owen Humphreys - PA Images // Getty Images

    "What is the R value"

    - Date trend was reported: April 14, 2020
    - Location: U.K.
    - Google Trends page

    In epidemiology, the R value—or R0—refers to the average number of people who will be infected by every person that contracts a disease. This figure is a key metric for tracking the fight against COVID-19. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has referred to it often in his public speeches, which likely drove search queries to spike in mid-April.

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    Thomas Holt // Shutterstock

    "Home science experiments for kids"

    - Date trend was reported: April 14, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    With schools in 48 states closed for the rest of the academic year, parents across the United States are searching for ways to entertain and educate their kids at home. Home science experiments like the classic baking soda volcano and food coloring magic milk have surged in popularity.

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    Melinda Nagy // Shutterstock

    "Will life ever go back to normal"

    - Date trend was reported: April 15, 2020
    - Location: Worldwide
    - Google Trends page

    The fact that this rather metaphysical question began trending worldwide reveals just how anxious and uncertain many of us are feeling during the pandemic. It’s still uncertain what the future looks like for restaurants, concerts, sporting events, movie theaters, and other staples of our pre-coronavirus lives.

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    algae // Shutterstock

    "Buzz cut"

    - Date trend was reported: April 16, 2020
    - Location: Worldwide
    - Google Trends page

    With hair salons and barbershops still shut down in many states, customers have resorted to drastic measures to deal with their grown-out locks, including buzz cuts. For those who aren’t quite ready to pull out the clippers, some salons are offering virtual haircut tutorials.

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    Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

    "Vivid dreams during pandemic"

    - Date trend was reported: April 16, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    If you’re having especially weird dreams right now, you’re not alone: A growing number of people have reported vivid, unusual dreams and nightmares recently, according to a dream survey being conducted by a Harvard Medical School professor. Experts don’t know exactly why, but evidence suggests that stress, anxiety, and especially memorable events can all affect our dreams.

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    Veja // Shutterstock

    "How long do you clap for NHS?"

    - Date trend was reported: April 17, 2020
    - Location: U.K.
    - Google Trends page

    Every Thursday at 8 p.m., U.K. residents take to their front stoops or throw open the windows of their flats to clap for National Health Service workers. There’s no set time limit for the applause, but it lasts for five to 10 minutes in most areas.

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    George Sheldon // Shutterstock

    "Disney bedtime hotline"

    - Date trend was reported: April 17, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    Disney announced on April 17 that it would open a bedtime hotline parents and young Disney fans could call to hear a message from Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, or Goofy. You can call 877-7-MICKEY to check it out for yourself.

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    OLIVIER DOULIERY // Getty Images

    "One World Together presenters"

    - Date trend was reported: April 20, 2020
    - Location: Worldwide
    - Google Trends page

    When the BBC covered Global Citizen’s One World: Together At Home fundraising concert, the broadcaster had three presenters in-studio commenting on the highlights from the star-studded concert. This led to a huge backlash from the British public, who wondered why those presenters couldn’t have done their jobs from home.

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    Jason Raff // Shutterstock

    "Where to donate stimulus check"

    - Date trend was reported: April 20, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    The U.S. government on April 20 began mailing out paper stimulus checks to the millions of Americans slated to receive them. That same day, a search query about organizations to donate those stimulus checks to began trending, indicating many Americans want to use the stimulus as an opportunity to give back to their communities.

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    curraheeshutter // Shutterstock

    "How can oil prices go negative?"

    - Date trend was reported: April 21, 2020
    - Location: Worldwide
    - Google Trends page

    When oil prices sank below $0 for the first time ever on April 20, some internet users were clearly confused—does this mean that you can get gas for free? Though Americans will certainly see lower prices at the pump, negative oil prices just indicate that there is an excess supply of crude oil.

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    t.max // Shutterstock

    "Can hairdressers work from home?"

    - Date trend was reported: April 21, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    As stay-at-home orders continued—and everyone’s hair got longer—some customers took to Google to find out if they could get a haircut at a home rather than their usual salon. Some hairdressers resorted to making house calls, but there’s still some debate about whether that is ethical or even legal.

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    Toa55 // Shutterstock

    "Pollution changes since coronavirus"

    - Date trend was reported: April 22, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    With fewer cars on the roads and planes in the sky during the pandemic, some decreases in air pollution have been seen in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Moscow, New Dehli, and Barcelona. These environmental changes have even inspired whimsical “we are the virus” memes taking over social media.

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    Mikhail Kolesnikov // Shutterstock

    "Virtual tour of national parks"

    - Date trend was reported: April 22, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    Although many national parks were closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, you can still visit a handful virtually. The National Park Service offers virtual tours of parks such as Crater Lake National Park in California and live webcams of the National Mall in Washington D.C.

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    Tupungato // Shutterstock

    "Has a state ever gone bankrupt"

    - Date trend was reported: April 23, 2020
    - Location: U.S.
    - Google Trends page

    In an April 23 radio interview, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested he would be in favor of states filing bankruptcy as a solution to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. However, current law does not allow state governments to use the federal bankruptcy system.

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    Marcio Jose Bastos Silva // Shutterstock

    "Harvard University free courses"

    - Date trend was reported: April 23, 2020
    - Location: Worldwide
    - Google Trends page

    Want to use the extra time at home to learn something new? You might want to enroll in one of the 145 courses that Harvard University is offering through online learning platform edX. Subjects range from 19th-century opera to biochemistry.

    You may also like: Online classes to boost your skills while social distancing

       

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      Victor Moussa // Shutterstock

      "Inject with disinfectant"

      - Date trend was reported: April 24, 2020
      - Location: Worldwide
      - Google Trends page

      President Donald Trump on April 24 wondered aloud whether injecting disinfectant into the human body might be a beneficial treatment for COVID-19, as it “knocks it out in a minute.” The comment sparked widespread backlash and outcry online and apparently led many people to google the comment.

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      JOHN MACDOUGALL // Getty Images

      "Ab welchem alter mundschutz"

      - Translation: "Mask age"
      - Date trend was reported: April 24, 2020
      - Location: Germany
      - Google Trends page

      In Germany, the rules and regulations around who must wear masks in public vary from state to state, leading German citizens to turn to Google to find out the particulars of the law in their community. Most German states require anyone over the age of 6 to wear masks in public; Saxony-Anhalt requires children older than 2 to wear masks, as well.

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      Rawpixel.com // Shutterstock

      "Easy desserts to make during quarantine"

      - Date trend was reported: April 27, 2020
      - Location: Worldwide
      - Google Trends page

      In another indication that anxiety baking is becoming even more popular during the pandemic, Googlers searching for sweet treats to make at home caused this search term to trend in late April. Dessert recipes like Chrissy Teigen’s banana bread, Bon Appetit’s camouflage brownies, and a three-ingredient version of creme brulee have taken off on social media.

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      ARENA Creative // Shutterstock

      "Metallic taste in mouth COVID"

      - Date trend was reported: April 27, 2020
      - Location: U.S.
      - Google Trends page

      As more COVID-19 survivors share their experiences with the virus, reports of an unusual symptom began surfacing: loss of taste or the presence of a metallic taste in the mouth. Medical experts still don’t have a full picture of the full range of confirmed COVID-19 symptoms, but the CDC does list “new loss of taste or smell” among the known symptoms.

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      Antonio Guillem // Shutterstock

      "Online games to play with friends during isolation"

      - Date trend was reported: April 28, 2020
      - Location: Worldwide
      - Google Trends page

      Now that going over to a friend’s house for board game night is off-limits, game lovers have had to come up with some more creative alternatives. Games you can play virtually on apps like Houseparty have taken off, including Drawful, Quiplash, and virtual Cards Against Humanity.

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      aslysun // Shutterstock

      "COVID toe rash"

      - Date trend was reported: April 29, 2020
      - Location: Worldwide
      - Google Trends page

      Worries about unknown COVID-19 symptoms include anxiety about another less common symptom that may be related to the virus: so-called “COVID toes,” or a rash appearing on patients’ feet. Researchers still aren’t sure whether this rash is a direct result of the virus, but a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology April 29 did report five rashes that appeared on coronavirus patients in Spain.

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      Joe Raedle // Getty Images

      "Drive by graduation party ideas"

      - Date trend was reported: April 29, 2020
      - Location: U.S.
      - Google Trends page

      With in-person commencement ceremonies canceled from coast to coast, friends, families, and educators are looking for innovative ways to celebrate the class of 2020. One popular strategy? Drive-by graduation parties, where family members create a personalized parade for the graduate. 

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      Tommaso Boddi // Getty Images

      "Should rent be cancelled"

      - Date trend was reported: April 30, 2020
      - Location: U.S.
      - Google Trends page

      News that Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced a new bill called the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act likely sparked interest in this search term. The proposed legislation would provide full payment forgiveness for rent and mortgages for your primary residence, with no debt accumulation or negative impacts on your credit.

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      Kevin Winter // Getty Images

      "Los Angeles free testing"

      - Date trend was reported: April 30, 2020
      - Location: U.S.
      - Google Trends page

      Los Angeles on April 30 became the first major U.S. city to offer free coronavirus testing. Though those with symptoms will receive priority, any resident can receive a test for free at testing sites across the city.

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      eugenegurkov // Shutterstock

      "Can you grow tomatoes from a tomato"

      - Date trend was reported: April 30, 2020
      - Location: U.K.
      - Google Trends page

      As shoppers try to stretch out the time between grocery store trips, DIY techniques for regrowing produce like scallions have seen a surge in popularity. Interest in regrowing tomatoes from a slice of the fruit sparked in the U.K. after a permaculturist tweeted about it.

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      felipe caparros // Shutterstock

      "Remdesivir uses before COVID"

      - Date trend was reported: April 30, 2020
      - Location: Worldwide
      - Google Trends page

      A glimmer of hope for the fight against COVID-19 emerged when the Food and Drug Administration on May 1 granted an “emergency use authorization” for remdesivir, a drug that has shown some promise in coronavirus patients with severe symptoms. A clinical trial conducted by the U.S. government suggested that the drug might shorten the recovery time for COVID-19 patients.

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      Andriy Blokhin // Shutterstock

      "John Hopkins contact tracing training"

      - Date trend was reported: May 1, 2020
      - Location: New York, U.S.
      - Google Trends page

      According to the CDC, contact tracing will be a key component of stopping the spread of COVID-19—but experts say we don’t have anywhere near enough. In response to the dire need, Johns Hopkins created a free online contact tracing course that anyone can complete in just six hours.

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      Leon Neal // Getty Images

      "Countries with no coronavirus"

      - Date trend was reported: May 1, 2020
      - Location: U.S.
      - Google Trends page

      Americans frustrated by the government’s handling of the COVID-19 health crisis might be ready to up and move somewhere else, as this Google search term indicates. A handful of countries including Lesotho, North Korea, the Solomon Islands, and Turkmenistan hadn’t reported any cases of coronavirus, as of May 12.

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      matiascausa // Shutterstock

      "Cinco de Mayo at home"

      - Date trend was reported: May 4, 2020
      - Location: U.S.
      - Google Trends page

      After it became clear that many Americans wouldn’t be able to make reservations at their favorite Mexican cantina for Cinco de Mayo, Google searches for ways to celebrate the holiday at home became popular. Top results include recipes such as chicken tostadas and churros with coconut sauce, as well as a primer on the history of Cinco de Mayo.

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      Boston Globe // Getty Images

      "Teacher Appreciation Week during COVID"

      - Date trend was reported: May 4, 2020
      - Location: Worldwide
      - Google Trends page

      With schools closed and lessons moved online, parents and students everywhere are realizing just how much they depend on teachers. Teacher Appreciation Week fell between May 4 and May 8 in 2020, so it’s no surprise that searches for fun ways to show teachers just how they’re appreciated spiked during that time frame.

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