Forget terrorism, natural disasters, or a fast-food chain discontinuing a popular menu item, nothing sends people into a blind panic like a viral outbreak. So with a crisis like the Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, a fast-moving virus that has shut down Chinese cities, has killed over a hundred people and cannot be treated with antibiotics, no wonder people are looking all over to find answers and solutions alike. And if Google search terms are anything to go by, those quandaries are getting real stupid, real fast.
In the past week, Google searches for "coronavirus symptoms" have gone up by over 1000% -- what has also spiked is searches implying people are confusing corona, the family of viruses that also includes SARS and the common cold, with Corona beer, the Mexican lager popular with teens and barbecuing dads. Searches linking the alcohol and the virus have also gone up a hundredfold, with the second most popular search is people simply typing "beer virus" like a panicked frat bro who was just told you can get herpes from doing keg stands. Safe to say, there's no link between the two and Corona beer is still perfectly fine to drink, if your definition of "perfectly fine" includes drinking something that tastes like a lime-scented urinal cake in an Albuquerque sports bar toilet trough.
What definitely isn't fine to drink, coronavirus or no, is freaking bleach. Yet this is the second most popular "beverage" getting attention because of the coronavirus, all thanks to the special brand of sad lunacy that is QAnon. Always one to pop up during outbreak like demented zits, conspiracy theorists are once again proselytizing the virtues of ingesting copious amounts of "Miracle Mineral Solution" to protect yourself from the viral outbreak. According to them, MMS is a secret cure-all for viruses The Man claims are incurable. But according to the FDA and anyone with a functioning brain it's just industrial bleach. Though QAnon isn't lying per se. Drink enough MMS, or any bleach product for that matter, and you'll never have to worry about getting the flu ever again.
Speaking of viral marketing, other brands enjoying a plague-related bump are the movie Contagion and the video game Plague Inc. as both have seen a record spike in sales in the last week This implies that people are either using these pieces of entertainment to educate themselves about a lethal pandemic or that we've all become so desensitized to global catastrophes they now work as literal viral marketing to give us a hankering for related brands. And we really hope it's not the latter, if only because we don't want to read a story in the next few days about Planters claiming Mr. Peanut actually died of the coronavirus to boost legume sales.
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