論文誌 (国際) Measuring Public Concern About COVID-19 Through Search Queries: An Infodemiology Study

Zhiwei Gao (NAIST), Sumio Fujita, Nobuyuki Shimizu, Kongmeng Liew (NAIST), Taichi Murayama (NAIST), Shuntaro Yada (NAIST), Shoko Wakamiya (NAIST), Eiji Aramaki (NAIST)

JMIR Public Health and Surveillance (JMIR Public Health and Surveillance)


Background: COVID-19 has disrupted lives and livelihoods and caused widespread panic across communities and societies. Emerging reports suggest that people living in rural areas in some countries are more susceptible to COVID-19. However, there is a lack of quantitative evidence that can shed light on whether residents of rural areas are more concerned about COVID-19 than residents of urban areas. Objective: This infodemiology study investigated attitudes toward COVID-19 in different Japanese prefectures by aggregating and analyzing Yahoo! JAPAN search queries. Methods: We measured COVID-19 concerns in each Japanese prefecture by aggregating search counts of the COVID-19-related queries of Yahoo! JAPAN users and the data related to COVID-19 cases. We then defined two indices—the localized concern index (LCI) and localized concern index by patient percentage (LCIPP)—to quantitatively represent the degree of concern. To investigate the impact of emergency declarations on people's concerns, we divided our study period into three phases according to the timing of the declaration of the state of emergency in Japan: before, during, and after. In addition, we evaluated the relationship between the LCI and LCIPP in different prefectures by correlating them with prefecture-level indicators of urbanization. Results: Our results demonstrated that the concerns about COVID-19 in the prefectures changed in accordance with the declaration of the state of emergency. The correlation analyses also indicated that the differentiated types of public concern measured by the LCI and LCIPP reflect the prefectures’ level of urbanization to a certain extent (i.e., the LCI appears to be more suitable for quantifying COVID-19 concern in urban areas, while the LCIPP seems to be more appropriate for rural areas).

Paper : Measuring Public Concern About COVID-19 Through Search Queries: An Infodemiology Study (外部サイト)