In news that can only be categorized as a heaping helping of WTF, an alarming number of American beer drinkers think Corona and coronavirus are somehow related.
Independently owned PR agency 5W Public Relations conducted a phone survey on February 25 and 26 to ask what respondents thought of Corona in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, which some are predicting will become a pandemic.
The results of the survey are...shocking? Compelling? Frustrating? Head-shakingly infuriating? All of the above?
5WPR called 737 American beer drinkers aged 21 years or older to determine if the coronavirus was having an impact on Corona's public perception.
The answer, in short, is yes. And not for the positive.
According to 5WPR, 16 percent of telephone survey respondents were confused about a correlation between the brand name Corona and the disease identified as coronavirus.
That result, unfortunately, seems to go hand in hand with digital marketing analytics firm SEMrush's findings that "corona beer virus" and "beer coronavirus" searches have been increasing for weeks now. A YouGov report that Corona's "buzz score"—a reflection of positive or negative opinions of a particular brand—had slipped 24 points to 51 from January to February also seems to support 5WPR's findings.
Another result from 5WPR's survey relates to beer drinks who identified themselves as Corona drinkers. Depending on how one looks at it, the "good" news is that only four percent of Corona drinkers said they would stop purchasing Corona because of the (totally unrelated) virus outbreak. However, 14 percent of those beer drinkers indicated they wouldn't order a Corona in public.
Likely to be the most disturbing result from 5WPR's survey is the revelation that nearly 40 percent of America beer drinkers won't order a Corona at all now. That seems to mean not on-premise, not-premise, not via third-party delivery, not ever.
Now, I'm not a scientist. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a medical professional or biologist. But I am a skilled researcher and hunter of information. A quick search brought me to the World Health Organization (WHO) profile of coronavirus. Here's what I found:
- Coronavirus is a large family of viruses, several of which can cause respiratory illnesses ranging from the common cold to SARS.
- The current coronavirus outbreak is an infectious new disease (terrifying word combination in this context) identified as COVID-19, formerly referred to as 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.
- The COVID-19 outbreak started in Wuhan, China.
- While the WHO is still conducting research to uncover as much information as possible about how COV-19 is spread between humans, this is how they say it can be contracted from an infected person, verbatim: "The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
- There's zero mention of Corona on the WHO website.
It's likely incredibly wise to avoid drinking a Corona from the same bottle or glass as someone infected by COVID-19. However, save for some absolutely unexpected and shocking revelation of a conspiracy, I'm confident in saying Corona itself is not, according to any online digging around I've done, responsible for the current coronavirus outbreak.
For now, the best practices for avoiding the spread of coronavirus are largely common sense:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also a good idea.
- Avoid touching your face with unclean hands, particularly the eyes, nose and mouth.
- If you're going to cough or sneeze, COVER YOUR NOSE AND MOUTH, preferably with a disposable tissue that is immediately thrown away.
- High-touch areas should be kept clean, a task with which all hospitality professionals should be familiar.
There doesn't appear to be any reason to avoid drinking anything Corona produces other than personal preference. And given the current state of the world, couldn't we all use a beer?
Bruce, Graeme. "First it was a joke, but Corona beer is really suffering from coronavirus news." YouGov. February 26, 2020.