We planned an infodemiological analysis to estimate the global impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on threat appraisals. We accessed Google Trends using the search terms "Anxiety", "Distress", "Fear", "Rumination", "Stress" and "Worry" within the "topic" domain, setting the geographical location to "worldwide", between July 2017 and July 2022. The weekly Google Trends score for the six search terms, thus, mirroring Web popularity and probable prevalence, was compared between the two search periods, "pre-COVID" (between July 2017 and February 2020) and COVID (between March 2020 and July 2022), thus, reflecting the volume of searches before and during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The median weekly Google Trends score of all these search terms significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e., anxiety by 22%, distress by 13%, fear by 9%, rumination by 18%, stress by 13% and worry by 20%. With variable strength, the weekly Google Trends scores of each search term were found to be significantly associated (all p < 0.001). We can, hence, conclude that the enhanced burden of threat appraisals observed after SARS-CoV-2 spread leads the way to establish preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic measures in order to limit the unfavorable mental health consequences caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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