Hong Ru (Nanyang Technological University) - Combating COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of SARS Imprint

Co-authors: Endong Yang (University of Macau) and Kunru Zou (Nanyang Technological University


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.

Online BOFIT seminars are open to all researchers interested in the subjects covered. Those wishing to attend a seminar are kindly asked to register in advance, by filling in the online registration form

 The registration for each seminar is open until 9:00 am the day of the seminar. You will receive a link to join the seminar by email at the latest one hour before the seminar is scheduled to begin.