During the Cold War, American children and adults were educated on how to best protect themselves from a nuclear explosion. This included measures from the silly “duck and cover” campaign to nuclear fallout shelter instructions. If you happen to be curious about the federal government’s current recommendations in regards to protection from a nuclear blast, you can read up on the instructions here. We’re not sure how focused people will be about wearing a mask in the event of nuclear fallout, but we guess you can never be too careful!

With tensions between Western nations and Russia reaching levels not seen since the Cold War, we took a look at Google Trends to identify the level of fear in the American population with respect to the current war in Ukraine. We looked at the search volumes for terms like nuclear war, WWIII, canned food, Potassium Iodide, and gas mask. Searches for many of these terms hit five-year highs in the early days of the Russian invasion but have subsided since. The current level is still well above normalcy, but fears appear to have eased over the last week as the West’s retaliation has been almost entirely economic (or maybe there is no internet service in the fallout shelters). The aggregate index is pictured below.

Below are charts of each search term we utilized in the composition of our index. Potassium Iodide, the compound utilized to mitigate the effects of excessive radiation exposure, is the only term that remains at a five-year high in terms of search volume. While searches for some of these terms were actually much higher during the early days of COVID, they all experienced upticks in the last few weeks.  All-in-all, based on search trends based on fears of a nuclear situation or war with Russia spiked when the Ukraine invasion first started, but those fears have over the course of the last week. Click here to view Bespoke’s premium membership options.

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