(Forbes) – One of these you can get from a bar at a party. The other can get you barred from a party.
The new coronavirus that was first found recently in Wuhan, China, is not the same as Corona beer. It has nothing to do with beer. It is not sold in bottles. It doesn’t go with a lime wedge. It’s not going to help you “find your beach.” Yet, according to Google Trends, Google searches for “beer virus” and “Corona beer virus” have been on the rise, corresponding to the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) beyond Wuhan and beyond China.
As you can see on the Google Trends web page, searches for “beer virus” and “Corona beer virus” remained relatively flat and low for the first two-and-a-half weeks of January. After all, why would you normally search for “beer virus,” unless perhaps you somehow thought that you could drink your way out of having a virus? (By the way, don’t try this.) But shortly after January 19, 2020, apparently searches for “beer virus” and “Corona beer virus” went up and up at the same time that various coronavirus-related phrases and questions rose as well, as shown by the following tweet:
January 20 was when China’s National Health Commission confirmed that human-to-human transmission of 2019-nCoV had occurred. January 21 was when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced plans to convene an emergency meeting to decide whether to declare the spreading 2019-nCoV outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).” In other words, this was when many people around the world started saying, “oh, PHEIC.”
Thus, it’s not surprising that people started Googling coronavirus around that time. It’s also not surprising that people had misconceptions about this novel virus. But, oh beer! Believing that the new coronavirus has something to do with Corona the beer? That would be a bit like expecting the flu to be a airline or using a winged-animal bat to try to hit a baseball.
It’s not completely clear what may be driving the data displayed on Google trends and what specifically to conclude. Does Google autocomplete (i.e., what Google suggests when you start entering a term such as “corona”) have something to do with this? The Google Trends web page doesn’t clearly show the actual number of people who have been Googling “beer virus” and “Corona beer virus.” So while the uptick may seem relatively big, it is unclear what the actual increase in number may have been. If the overall number were relatively small, could a small group of people searching the terms for fun or curiosity then have helped fueled the apparent rise? Or do many people actually believe that the coronavirus has something to do with Corona beer? Oh, the questions.
Nevertheless, if you still are unclear of the difference between “coronavirus” and “Coronabeer”, let’s answer the five most Googled questions about coronavirus from January 21, 2020, for both:
1. What is coronavirus?
It is a family of viruses named so because “corona” means crown in Latin and these viruses have little spikes on their surfaces that make them look like little crowns. The strain that is causing the current outbreak that started in Wuhan, China, is a newly discovered strain in this family.
1. What is Corona?
It is a brand of beer, a pale lager. If you drink too much of it or any alcoholic beverage, you may end up with crown on your head and not realize how it got there. Corona the beer originated back in 1925, forty years before the first strain of coronavirus was discovered and named. The virus was not named after the beer. If you ask the bartender for a Corona and he or she tries to give you coronavirus instead, do not return to the bar.
2. Is the coronarvirus deadly?
It depends on what strain of coronarvirus. The most common strains tend to cause mild-to-moderate upper respiratory illnesses with cold-ish symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, headache, sore throat, and fever. These are rarely deadly, By contrast, the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronarvirus can readily kill an average of 15% of those infected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus is also potentially deadly, with around 35% of those infected dying, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This new 2019-nCoV has already resulted in at least 170 deaths with over 7,700 infected. So, yes it can be deadly. However, so far, this season, the flu has killed far more people, at least 8,000 in the U.S. alone.
2. Is Corona deadly?
Drinking in moderation may not kill you. However, drinking too much can end up killing you. Also, driving or operating heavy machinery while intoxicated can be deadly to you and others.
3. How to prevent coronavirus?
Currently there is no vaccine against any type of coronavirus. Therefore, the best things to do are to avoid close contact with those who are sick and to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Also, refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your filthy paws. For example, if you want to show affection, instead of blowing kisses or touching your eye to say, “I love you,” use your fingers to form the shape of a heart on your chest and tilt your head slightly to the left while smiling.
4. How does coronavirus spread?
Looks like the new coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets like the other types of coronavirus. So when an infected person sneezes or coughs, he or she can leave virus-filled respiratory droplets momentarily in the air or on some surface or object. Touching these droplets and then rubbing your eyes, nose, or mouth could get yourself infected. It is still not clear how easily transmissible this virus may be. Early suggestions are that an infectious person could end up infecting on average one to three other people. But this is all based on very preliminary data and a study that has not yet undergone scientific peer-review.
5. Where does coronavirus come from?
Not beer. Unless someone who is infected with the coronavirus coughed or sneezed on a beer and then gave the beer to you. A study published in the Journal of Medical Virology suggested that this new coronavirus could have jumped from snakes to humans. But before you start blaming cold-hearted snakes, looking into their eyes, uh-oh, keep in mind that more research is needed to be for sure.
5. Where does Corona the beer come from?
Your refrigerator. Or maybe someone else’s refrigerator. It could also be from a shelf or a box. Occasionally a fanny pack may be the source. If you are wondering where it originally came from, Cervecería Modelo and Constellation Brands in Mexico produce Corona, the beer.
There are numerous other differences between the new coronavirus and Corona, the beer. For example, it’s not clear whether wearing a surgical mask will really prevent you from catching the new coronavirus, but it will prevent you from drinking Corona the beer.
Nonetheless, similarities do exist. Both shouldn’t cause you to panic. After all, the new coronavirus is not as transmissible as the measles and has not killed as many people as the flu. At the same time, panicking when seeing a bottle of Corona is just silly. Another similarity is that misconceptions about both the new coronavirus and Corona are floating around right now, such as potentially the misconception that they have anything to do with each other.