Memes, Banana Bread and Zoom Quizzes: The Covid Zeitgeist Told by Google Trends

We’re undoubtedly at the start(ish) of the second wave of Covid-19 as cases continue to rise again in the UK. As cases have climbed over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed my WhatsApp is once again awash with Covid-19 memes. Wondering if this was a symptom of my choice of acquaintances or if I was experiencing the hivemind at work I turned to Google Trends.

The Return of the Covid Meme

By analyzing the UK Google search indices for the search term ‘Covid meme’ against the average weekly new cases of Covid-19, we’re able to determine some interesting human behaviour:

Firstly, we’re able to see a steep rising in searches before lockdown and the eventual decline of the first wave of covid cases.

As we entered lockdown our interest in covid memes fell sharply as the reality of lockdown sunk in.

However, as we’ve entered the second wave searches for ‘covid meme’ have climbed steeply, once again outstripping the growth in average weekly cases.

Cake and Quizzes

With my fears confirmed I remembered back to lockdown and decided if Google trends could offer insight into what we’d been doing and what we might be doing in the event of lockdown part 2

To do this I compared the search indices of a couple of things which I’m sure we all remember from lockdown ‘banana bread recipe’ and ‘zoom quiz’:

At the start of lockdown there was a large spike in searches for ‘banana bread recipe’. Over the last couple of weeks there has been a small uptick in these searches as the government messaging has changes and WFH where possible has been promoted again. In the event of a further lockdown we may once again see the rise the amateur baker, especially with the return to TV of The Great British Bake Off.

Although I’m sure more cake is something we can all get onboard with, I know one thing I’m hoping does return is the dreaded zoom quiz! With the peek coming a few weeks into lockdown it seemed like there was a zoom quiz every night of the week and looking at the related queries Google Trends offers an insight into inspiration starved quizmasters across the country:

Suppressing the 2nd Wave

A few comforting thoughts as we embark on the second wave of covid-19; the memes will die down soon, there will be more cake and together we can suppress the 2nd wave of zoom quizzes.