COVID-19 predictability in the United States using Google Trends time series



Mavragani A & Gkillas K (2020) COVID-19 predictability in the United States using Google Trends time series. Scientific Reports, 10 (1), Art. No.: 20693.

During the unprecedented situation that all countries around the globe are facing due to the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which has also had severe socioeconomic consequences, it is imperative to explore novel approaches to monitoring and forecasting regional outbreaks as they happen or even before they do so. To that end, in this paper, the role of Google query data in the predictability of COVID-19 in the United States at both national and state level is presented. As a preliminary investigation, Pearson and Kendall rank correlations are examined to explore the relationship between Google Trends data and COVID-19 data on cases and deaths. Next, a COVID-19 predictability analysis is performed, with the employed model being a quantile regression that is bias corrected via bootstrap simulation, i.e., a robust regression analysis that is the appropriate statistical approach to taking against the presence of outliers in the sample while also mitigating small sample estimation bias. The results indicate that there are statistically significant correlations between Google Trends and COVID-19 data, while the estimated models exhibit strong COVID-19 predictability. In line with previous work that has suggested that online real-time data are valuable in the monitoring and forecasting of epidemics and outbreaks, it is evident that such infodemiology approaches can assist public health policy makers in addressing the most crucial issues: flattening the curve, allocating health resources, and increasing the effectiveness and preparedness of their respective health care systems.

Bioinformatics; Epidemiology; Infectious diseases; Public health; Statistical methods

Scientific Reports: Volume 10, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online26/11/2020
Date accepted by journal06/11/2020
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC