Published online May 20, 2022. doi: 10.5662/wjm.v12.i3.99
Peer-review started: November 23, 2021
First decision: February 8, 2022
Revised: February 11, 2022
Accepted: March 26, 2022
Article in press: March 26, 2022
Published online: May 20, 2022
Core Tip: Google Trends searches for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-associated terms have been linked to the epidemiology of COVID-19. In this study we aimed to assess worldwide COVID-19 cases per se vs COVID-19-associated Google Trends searches and thyroid-associated Google Trends searches for 92 wk. The study period was split in half and in each time period we performed cross-correlation analysis and mediation analysis. Significant cross correlation function factors for “COVID-19” and “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” were mostly found in the second time period, whereas COVID-19 cases per se were associated with “thyroid” searches in both time periods. In the second time period, which was characterized by the spread of SARS-CoV-2 delta variant, the effect of “COVID-19” searches on “thyroid” searches was significantly mediated by COVID-19 cases (P = 0.048). The observed time frame/sequence lends some credence to associations of COVID-19 cases per se with (apparent) thyroid disease.