1st Wave of COVID-19 in Pakistan
People turn to search engines and social media to seek information duringpopulation-level events, such as during civil unrest, disease outbreaks, fires, or flood.They also tend to participate in discussions and disseminate information and opinionsvia social media forums, and smartphone messaging applications. COVID-19 pandemicwas not any different. However, the proper medical awareness and correct informationdissemination is critical during a pandemic. An unprecedented amount of internet trafficrelated to this topic was generated during the start of the pandemic all over the world.In this work, we have analysed the electronic data generated by users from Pakistanon Google Search Engine and WhatsApp to understand their information-seekingbehavior during the first wave of the pandemic. The paper aims at analysing how thePakistani public developed their understanding about the disease, (its origin, cures, andpreventive measures to name a few) by analysing digital data. We found that the publicactively searched and discussed information at the start of the pandemic. However,their interest waned with time and was reinvigorated only when something novel orshocking seemed to have occurred. Understanding this information seeking behavior willallow corrective actions to be taken by health policymakers to better inform the publicfor possible future waves of a pandemic through electronic media, as well as and thesocial media companies and search engines to address misinformation among the usersin the emergent markets.
The data set is in the form of comma separated files (.csv) and can be viewed in any text editor. For better view, you can use Microsoft excel or any other spreadsheet tool.