Advances in Management and Applied Economics

Effectiveness of COVID-19 Pandemic Prevention: A cross-country Comparison of Digital Footprint of Google Search Data

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  • Abstract

    The COVID-19 has been categorized as a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and caused tremendous damage to global health and economics. However, the situation of COVID-19 spread varied by country. With the features of high infectivity and uncertainty, earlier public perceptions of epidemic prevention play a vital role in combating the COVID-19. Thus, the study aims to capture the public epidemic awareness by using the digital footprint of public’s searches for “face mask” on Google search engine as a real-time measurement and examine its effectiveness of epidemic prevention by comparing Taiwan, Singapore, Philippine, Italy, Spain, and South Korea. The data of Google search volume of face masks from Google Trend and confirmed cases of COVID-19 between December 31, 2019, and March 17, 2020, were collected. By tracing the digital footprints across countries, our findings indicated that public epidemic awareness varies by country. The early increasing and maintaining public epidemic awareness are crucial for epidemic prevention. Moreover, the study elaborated on how public epidemic awareness raises and keeps in Taiwan. The study highlighted the importance of using digital footprints for establishing an early warning system for the government by trancing the public’s attitudes and response to emerging infectious diseases. The implication of the Google search volume index could be used for the government to implement health service management based on timely information. In the era of big data, countless online digital footprints are waiting to be gathered and analyzed to enhance an existing or create a new service.

    Keywords: COVID-19, cross-country comparison, epidemic prevention, digital footprint, Google search volume, Taiwan.