Combating COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of SARS Imprint (Online Seminar)
This paper documents a strong delayed response to COVID-19 caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, in countries that do not suffer from 2003 SARS disease caused by a similar virus, SARS-CoV-1. Individuals in countries that suffered from SARS in 2003 search more intensively for COVID-19 related information in Google during its first outbreak in Wuhan China in late January 2020. Governments in countries without SARS deaths respond significantly slower to combat COVID-19 regarding various containment measures. Consequently, COVID-19 case numbers and mortalities are substantially higher in countries without SARS experience. Our findings suggest that the imprint of the early experience of similar viruses is a fundamental mechanism underlying timely responses to COVID-19.