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A year in Covid-19 data: from coughing to school closures

As we approach the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown being imposed, the data team at Mumsnet has pulled together some statistics to show how parents on our site experienced the last twelve months.

By Justine Roberts | Last updated Jul 15, 2021

Woman putting a mask on a child

March 2020: ‘Coughing’

- By 6 March 2020 – before anyone had even heard about 'tiers' or 'bubbles' – there had already been 5.5 million views of discussions on Mumsnet about the virus.

- Uses of the word ‘coronavirus’ skyrocketed from 4,008 in February to 12,161 in March.

- Our new Coronavirus forum was created on 12 March. It racked up around 400,000 views a day and nearly four million views in total during March alone.

- The announcement of lockdown prompted what would turn out to be only the fourth-biggest spike on our Swearometer over the following twelve months.

- Mentions of 'coughs' and ‘coughing’ shot up, from 1,599 in February to 11,144 in March.

April 2020: ‘Joe Wicks’‘

- 'COVID’ is used 17,773 times.

- Parents start to fret about ‘home schooling’, which is mentioned 2,419 times in April (compared with 243 in February and 1,540 in March).

- We see a noticeable dip in site traffic during the Thursday evening Claps for Carers.

- New words appearing include ‘Zoom’, used 2,662 times in April compared with 60 times in February 2020.

- Joe Wicks is mentioned 566 times, compared with 25 in February.

Mumsnet site traffic data for a Thursday evening in early April 2020

May to August 2020: ‘Barnard Castle’

- Dominic Cummings impacts Mumsnet data for probably the first time, as mentions of ‘Barnard Castle’ increase around 30,000% compared to February (608 vs 2).

- Between May and August there are 4,316,630 views of our Coronavirus board.

- July is the biggest spike for mentions of ‘mask', with 19,488 uses compared with 1,616 in February.

- ‘Quarantine’ sees a spike in August, with 2,870 mentions.

September to December 2020: ‘Scotch egg’

- On 31 October the second lockdown is announced and by 6 November traffic to the Coronavirus forum doubles, from 900k to 1.8m page visits.

- There's a 300% uptick in the use of the term ‘Scotch egg’.

- On 22 December Boris Johnson announces that Christmas is effectively cancelled, resulting in the second-biggest spike of the twelve months on our Swearometer.

- There’s noticeable increase in the use of words associated with poor mental health over the twelve-month period. For example, the words ‘anxiety’ or ‘anxious’ appear 104,992 times in 2020, a 32% increase over 2019, while ‘worry’ and other derivatives appeared 292,956 times, a 37% increase.

January to March 2021: ‘Vaccine’

- January saw the biggest spike in mentions of ‘vaccine’, at 18,427.

- Across January, February and early March, we host 22,944 threads about the vaccine.

- Conversations about schools heat up, and we see the biggest spike on our Swearometer at 8pm on 4 January when Boris Johnson announces that most children will not be returning to school after all.

- Mentions of 'Google Classroom' increase, from just two in February 2020 to 516 in January 2021.

- By the second week of March 2021, our Coronavirus topic hosts 58,300 discussion threads.

- In one week in March 2021 alone, there are 33,148 views of discussions containing the word ‘Coronavirus’.