© Reuters / Victor Ruiz Garcia / Antara Foto
Can YOU tell the difference?
Americans are ditching Corona beer in droves over concerns about the coronavirus epidemic, according to a pair of surveys, with as many as 38 percent of beer-drinkers supposedly forgoing the beverage in misguided germaphobia.

Eyes rolled and jaws hit the floor across America on Friday as social media users chanced upon an irresistible CNN headline "revealing" over a third of Americans "would not buy Corona under any circumstances now." Had nearly two in five US residents really sworn off the popular beer brand out of fear of succumbing to the much-hyped epidemic?!

The press release heralding the survey results merited a closer look, though the 38 percent number was — technically — true. 5W Public Relations found only 4 percent of habitual Corona drinkers were willing to put down their favorite beverage because of the virus, while an eyebrow-raising 14 percent would cease ordering it in public, perhaps concerned the next guy at the bar would think they were one of the infected. Some 16 percent of those surveyed were "confused about whether Corona beer is related to the coronavirus."

Comment: The 4% figure is a better indicator of how many beer-drinkers are dumb enough to associate Corona with coronavirus, along with the 14% who are confused. The 38% figure includes beer-drinkers who don't and won't drink Corona for any reason, e.g., they simply don't like it.

Never one to let details get in the way of some grade-A clickbait, social media users seized the opportunity to vent their frustrations with the general intellectual level of the American people.

Others interpreted the disturbing figures as pure trolling.

At least one tweeter brought up the infamous 2015 poll that revealed nearly a third of Republican voters were willing to bomb Agrabah, the fictional setting of the Disney film Aladdin, presumably just because it sounded Arabic.

In fact, "about a third of Americans" seemed to have some major issues across a spectrum of surveys...

Branding setbacks like Corona's can utterly destroy a company, though it's not inevitable — parent corporation Constellation Brands' stock was stable, until it slid into a sharp decline a week ago

Pollsters YouGov found Corona's "buzz score," based on whether respondents had heard anything positive or negative about the beer, had nosedived from 75 to 51 over just two months among US adults with existing opinions about the brand, while "purchase intent" was at its lowest in two years. Constellation executives are likely lying awake at night thinking of the 1970s diet candy 'Ayds', which disappeared off the face of the earth in the 1980s for reasons which are probably obvious.