What Yankee candle evaluations can inform us about COVID : NPR

What Yankee candle evaluations can inform us about COVID : NPR

After seeing Twitter threads stating a possible hyperlink between damaging candle evaluations and spikes in COVID instances, one professor sought to find out if there was a relationship between the 2.


Over the course of the pandemic, folks started noticing one thing bizarre occurring within the evaluations part for Yankee Candles on Amazon. It appeared like every time there was a spike in COVID instances, there was additionally an inflow of evaluations complaining about scentless candles, maybe as a result of COVID had worn out some folks’s sense of scent.


Nick Beauchamp of Northeastern College had studied how social media might predict COVID prevalence. So when he acquired wind of the Yankee Candle phenomenon, he knew simply learn how to proceed.

NICK BEAUCHAMP: I simply thought, nicely, it is simple sufficient to do. Possibly I am going to simply attempt scraping some Amazon evaluations and see what the precise traits are.

CHANG: The outcomes of his evaluation have been clear. When COVID instances surged, there was a corresponding rise in damaging candle evaluations, even after controlling for seasonality. And he discovered comparable traits for fragrance evaluations, suggesting it wasn’t a Yankee Candle-specific phenomenon.

PFEIFFER: Beauchamp says information factors like on-line evaluations could be a helpful complement to extra conventional measurements of COVID prevalence, like case counts.

BEAUCHAMP: These of us who kind of nonetheless care about and fear concerning the pandemic and do not suppose that it is over are greedy round for different sources of information that can be utilized to trace, you understand, new waves and that kind of factor.

PFEIFFER: That is very true as COVID testing and reporting have modified. Infectious illness physician Abraar Karan of Stanford College factors out that case counts might not current as clear an image as they used to.

ABRAAR KARAN: Numerous testing acquired decentralized such that folks have been testing at dwelling, and so we weren’t in a position to get a very good grasp of how many individuals have been truly testing constructive. After a sure level, as a result of quite a few folks examined at dwelling after which they remoted, that information did not get reported to public well being departments.

CHANG: So are Yankee Candle evaluations the brand new COVID metric?

BEAUCHAMP: These sort of issues are utilized in public well being, you understand, extra for analysis. However at this level in COVID, I do not suppose candle evaluations are going to vary sort of our public well being technique.

CHANG: Within the meantime, be at liberty to take pleasure in these seasonal fall scents, like Spooky Spider Cider. However for those who do not scent something, perhaps seize a COVID take a look at earlier than leaving a evaluation.

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