“Coronavirus” is derived from the Latin corona, meaning crown or halo, because under a microscope this group of viruses look like they have a royal crown or solar corona, an aura of plasma around the sun you can only see during a total solar eclipse. Corona Extra (the beer) gets its name from the same word, as it has a crown logo. They are not at all connected.
And yet, as an outbreak of a novel (and deadly) version of the former breaks out, more and more people are searching “corona beer virus” online, apparently unaware they’re not related.
As the graph below shows, U.S. Google searches for both “corona beer virus” and “corona beer” have spiked significantly since the virus was first detected in China in December of last year. It also shows how the story grew bigger in the U.S. after cases were detected here this month.
The spike for the term “corona beer” is even more dramatic, and we doubt that it’s because people have suddenly discovered the sixth-most popular beer in America. That one is likely more thanks to folks looking into the virus entering “corona” into the Google search bar and having it autocomplete the phrase with a beer-related word like “beer” or “extra.”
Part of the reason for the increased interest in these terms—particularly “corona beer”—is Google’s autocomplete feature, which likely suggested or even filled in a beer-related term after “corona” was entered. At this point, the coronavirus outbreak is such a big story in this country that virus-related queries have pushed beer-related queries down and off the list.
But there’s also certainly some real confusion in the minds of people who’ve heard about the coronavirus from friends and go to do some research on it, assuming that it’s somehow connected to the light Mexican lager.
Of course, now if they search for any of these they’ll be greeted with stories like this one. If that’s how you got here, welcome. Now go read a much more useful resource on the subject.