Opinion | Google Searches Can Help Us Find Emerging Covid-19 Outbreaks – The New York Times

Opinion | Google Searches Can Help Us Find Emerging Covid-19 Outbreaks – The New York Times

The three searches most related to Covid-19 disease rates were not a surprise: loss of smell, fever and chills. The fifth and sixth searches weren’t much of a surprise either: nasal congestion and diarrhea, which have also received a lot of attention as Covid-19 symptoms.

However, the fourth-place search was a surprise: eye pain, which has not garnered much attention as a possible symptom of the disease. Searches for “my eyes hurt” over the previous week were highest in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana and Michigan. Such searches seem to have risen in the past two weeks almost exclusively in parts of the country that have reached very high Covid-19 rates (although the data is fairly noisy and the rise isn’t as large as it is for some other symptoms).

There have been some reports of eye-related issues related to Covid-19. A March 31 paper based on a study of 38 patients in China reported that one third of the patients later tested for ocular irregularities.

via Opinion | Google Searches Can Help Us Find Emerging Covid-19 Outbreaks – The New York Times