Google searches for the “Corona beer virus” have surged as people confuse the Mexican pale lager with the deadly outbreak that’s killed 146 in China.
Many Americans are turning to Google to learn more about the deadly coronavirus spreading from China and seem to be getting the infection confused with the popular Mexican beer Corona Extra.
Searches for both “corona beer” and “corona beer virus” have spiked since the first U.S. cases were confirmed over a week ago.
An Increase of 1,100%
Over the last week, searches for both terms increased more than 1,100%, according to data from Google Trends.
However, it’s likely that the more people have typed “corona”, the more Google has auto-completed that search with “beer” or “beer virus.”
And to put to rest the question so many have put to Google: No, the deadly virus has nothing to do with a cold Mexican beer.
Just five searches for the term “corona beer virus” took place on January 22nd compared to at least 100 searches on January 29th.
Searches from the West Coast and Midwest
The phrase was most commonly searched in Hawaii, California and Washington over the past week.
Meanwhile, residents of New Mexico, Nebraska and Kansas were the most likely to search for the term “beer virus.”
Americans Weren’t Alone in the Confusion
However, it’s not just Americans that have been confused.
Google Trends data also shows that, in the past week, Singapore, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand were the countries that searched most often for ‘corona beer virus.’
All of these countries, outside of New Zealand, have confirmed cases of coronavirus.
The name for the virus comes from the Latin word corōna meaning a crown or a garland.
When the virus is looked at under a microscope, one can see an external structure with tiny crown-like spikes emerging from it.
Coronavirus has Infected Thousands and Killed More than 100
So far, there are 17,205 confirmed infections and in China while more than 6,000 people elsewhere have been infected with the virus. 146 people — all in China — have died.
As of this past Wednesday, five cases have been confirmed in the U.S.: Maricopa County, Arizona; Orange County and Los Angeles County, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Snohomish County, Washington.
This is not the first time that a mix-up has occurred with the name of a disease and that of a food/drink.
The AIDS-crisis in the mid-1980s led to an association with Ayds, an appetite-suppressant candy, due to the phonetic similarity of their names.
According to the Associated Press, Ayds sales were down 50 percent by 1988.
Despite a change in the name to Diet Ayds, sales never recovered and the candy was eventually discontinued.