Public Interest in Preventive Measures of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Associated With Timely Issuance of Statewide Stay-at-Home Orders

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One method of monitoring public preparedness is through measuring public interest in preventive measures. The objective of this study was to analyze public interest in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) preventive measures and to identify variables associated with timely stay-at-home (SAH) orders issued by governors.

State-level search volume was collected from Google Trends. Average preventive measure interest was calculated for the query terms “hand sanitizer,” “hand washing,” “social distancing,” and “COVID testing.” We then calculated the delay in statewide SAH orders from March 1, 2020, to the date of issuance and by-state presidential voting percentage. Bivariate correlations were computed to assess the relationship between interest in preventive measures and SAH order delay.

The correlation between average preventive measure interest and length of time before the SAH order was placed was −0.47. Average preventive measure interest was also inversely related to voting for a Republican presidential nominee in the 2016 election (R = −0.75), the latter of which was positively associated with longer delays in SAH orders (R = 0.48).

States with greater public interest in COVID-19 preventive measures were inversely related to governor issuance of timely SAH orders. Increasing public interest in preventive measures may slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), by improving preparedness.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1–4
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2020


  • COVID-19; infection control; public awareness; public preparedness

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