The numbers don't lie: search engine queries record the rapid growth of covid patients

The numbers don't lie: search engine queries record the rapid growth of covid patients

9 October , 13:38
In Moscow alone, over the past month, judging by requests from Yandex, the number of cases has almost doubled and is approaching the record levels in May.

Network analyst Boris Ovchinnikov conducted a study on how Russian citizens react to the second wave of coronavirus. The results are impressive:

“Based on the statistics of search queries, the situation is catastrophic. Last week (September 28-4.10) Yandex recorded 249 thousand requests with the word "smelling" (more precisely, displaying search results for requests with this word) from Russia. This is 43% more than a week earlier, and 1.8 times more than at the peak in the first half of May

Although the main attention is now riveted on Moscow, but it is the search statistics that show that the situation in Moscow is much better than the average in Russia (or, alternatively, in Moscow there is a much larger percentage of people who understand what problems mean in 2020 with the sense of smell). At the same time, strong growth is taking place in almost all regions (which was not the case in May and summer) - and this ubiquity of growth itself gives reason to hope that at least partly the increase in the number of requests about smell is caused not by an increase in the incidence of COVID-19, but by the influence of the media and seasonal the rise of colds.

However, not only general requests about "smell" are growing, but also more and more specific requests - the rise of which, alas, is already more difficult to attribute to media influence and seasonality. There are growing requests about when he will return and how to return the sense of smell (and these are requests that people are unlikely to ask after hearing about the loss of smell as a symptom of coronavirus or suffering from a stuffy nose), there are growing requests about "I don't feel the taste", for which in past years was characterized by a much weaker seasonal rise in the fall than for inquiries about smelling.

Finally, I found a query that is directly related to the coronavirus, but not with its treatment or its symptoms, and which, with rare exceptions, will only be asked by a person who believes that he or she is currently suffering from coronavirus.

For the sake of purity of monitoring, I will not disclose this request yet, so as not to affect its frequency (it is quite rare) - I will designate it by the abbreviation "KM". And according to this request (see the second picture), we see not such a catastrophic, but also frightening dynamics - an almost 2-fold growth in 4 weeks from the beginning of September and approaching the record indicators of May. In Moscow - an increase of almost 80% from the low of three weeks ago and up to 2/5 of the May high.


Data for the last 30 days through October 6 inclusive. Cumulative statistics for more than 20 queries related to coronavirus symptoms. Leading regions in the relative frequency of such requests (i.e., by how much the share of such requests in the total flow of requests from the region is greater than the share of such requests in Yandex as a whole) and in the growth in the number of such requests as compared to the previous measurement 13 days earlier

The leaders in relative frequency are the Orenburg region and Udmurtia. It can be assumed that it was in these regions that the strongest outbreaks in September were. The leader in terms of growth rates is the Altai Territory, but many other regions from different parts of the country, alas, are growing very quickly.

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