FRED has more than 765,000 time series of data from 96 sources—some old, some new. One of the newest is a frequency analysis of the word “pandemic” from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) country reports. Economists Hites Ahir, Nicholas Bloom, and Davide Furceri built the index number by counting the number of words related to pandemic episodes appearing in each country’s report, dividing that figure by the total number of words in the report and multiplying that ratio by 100,000.
These two GeoFRED maps show the index number for each country report during the fourth quarter of 2019 (above) and the first quarter of 2020 (below). Mentions of pandemics (disease outbreaks affecting many people at once) were identified only in certain countries in late 2019. Today, those mentions have spread worldwide.
How these maps were created: From GeoFRED, click on “Tools,” select “Choose Data,” and search for “Discussion About Pandemics Index.” To switch between dates, use the “Date” dropdown menu in the same tab or click on the left-pointing and right-pointing arrows next to the date on the graph legend.