When the COVID19 pandemic began spreading, people started making predictions on what its short-term effects would be. There were predictions of a global recession, more home cooking, and even a rise in the divorce rate. One prediction was highly specific: There would be many “COVID babies”.
I’ve been trying to figure out if that prediction is true using search data. Here’s the trend of searches for pregnancy tests in the USA for the past 5 years, taken from Google Trends. It tells an interesting story.
As you can see, every year at roughly the end of march or early April there’s a spike of searches. I’ve marked them with triangles. There is also a wave of searches around the July timeframe.
The spikes correspond to the week or two after spring break. You can guess why… The July surge might be related to planned spring babies or perhaps it’s summer love?
But what happened this year? Interestingly, there’s a drop in searches corresponding to the time of the beginning of the pandemic. Perhaps people couldn’t go out to buy pregnancy tests or perhaps they were under stress due to the pandemic so they couldn’t care for those tests. Interestingly, spring break spike is there in all its glory. So is the July surge. In fact, it’s probably larger than in most years, seemingly compensating for the March dip.
Therefore, the bottom line is, there’s no abnormal spike in searches for pregnancy tests in the USA since the pandemic began. Does that mean there won’t be a surge of babies in another few months? I don’t know, but my guess is, probably not.