Coronavirus Goes Viral – Tracking the Outbreak via Global Media Signals (updated)

This post – originally published on 30/01/20 – has been updated to reflect the latest data and utilize more sources.

With over 800 deaths confirmed (WHO), the Wuhan-originated coronavirus continues to cause havoc around Asia and the wider world.

On Tuesday (Jan 28th), Hong Kong announced a ban on tourist visas for many travelers and imposed additional restrictions at border crossings. In the US, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the arrival of the virus, with updated information available here.

As China scrambles to contain the virus, the rest of the world looks on anxiously. Our News API can map and analyze media reaction to the outbreak, plotting where and when the major events and announcements occurred.

How The News Spread

We pulled media articles published from January 1st to February 9th that mentioned “coronavirus” (or its variants) with a city in the title. We then took their published date and located them on a time-lapse map using the location mentioned in the title. We further categorized these articles as general chatter (e.g. Atlanta Airport Travelers Screened For Deadly Wuhan Coronavirus ), diagnoses (e.g. None of Patients in St Petersburg diagnosed with Coronavirus) and deaths (e.g. 88-Year-Old Dies from Coronavirus in Shanghai).

Using Aylien’s machine translation capabilities we were able to pull from hundreds of sources across Asia, Europe, Russia, Africa and the Americas.

As expected, most activity is initially around China. However, Tuesday 21st sees an explosion of activity around the English speaking world.

It’s interactive too – hit pause to examine the article behind each instance.

Feverish Financiers

Coronavirus hysteria has sent shockwaves around the business world, too.

In the chart below – which shows the volume of articles containing “Coronavirus” in the title vs stock index prices- we can see that Wall Street’s S&P index closed 1.4% lower on Monday 27th January as media interest in the Coronavirus spiked (market data from Yahoo! Finance).

Meanwhile, the Chinese stock market closed for Lunar New Year celebrations on January 23rd and remained closed until February 3rd amidst fears of a pandemic. The index dropped a staggering 8% on its reopening day, its biggest daily drop in more than four years (BBC).

All the data we used for this post was sourced from our News API.

You can see it in action in our demo, or click below for a free 14-day trial – we’ll send your API key so you can jump into the news straight away.

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