22 Key COVID-19 terms, phrases and meanings you should know

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Some have chosen to describe it as the ‘language of social crises’ as the novel, devastating Coronavirus pandemic.

There is no doubting the fact that the outbreak of COVID-19 virus has led to an explosion of new words, phrases and acronyms both in English and in other world languages.

Understanding these terms, phrases and abbreviations invariably, helps to cope in our collective efforts at curbing further spread of the disease and finding a cure in the end.

This new vocabulary, including other terms that deal with the material changes in our everyday lives, helps us make sense of the changes that have suddenly become part of our everyday life across the globe.

Established terms such as “self-isolating”, “pandemic”, “quarantine”, “lockdown” and “key workers” have increased in use, while Coronavirus/COVID-19 neologisms are being coined quicker than ever.

These are some of the words, phrases and acronyms you should know to understand the virus and how to prevent infection and spreading.

ConsumerConnect hereunder explains some of the key terms and phrases being used during the virus crisis, courtesy theconversation.com and africanparent.com

  1. Covidiot: Someone ignoring public health advice
  2. Covideo Party: Online parties via Zoom or Skype
  3. Covexit: The strategy for exiting lockdown
  4. Blursday: An unspecified day because of lockdown’s disorientating effect on time
  5. Zoombombing: Hijacking a Zoom videocall
  6. WFH: Working from home

7. Quaranteams: Online teams created during lockdown, referring to helping people to deal with changing work circumstances.

8. COVID-19: The disease caused by the Coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It primarily affects the lungs.

The technical name for the Coronavirus is SARS-CoV-2, which causes “Coronavirus disease 2019,” or COVID-19.

Coronaviruses get their name because of the crown-like spikes that protrude from their surfaces, resembling the sun’s corona.

The new virus, first detected in China, is believed to have originated in bats.

  1. Flatten the curve: Health experts use a line on a chart to show numbers of new Coronavirus cases. If a lot of people get the virus in a short period of time, the line might rise sharply and look a bit like a mountain.

However, taking measures to reduce infections can spread cases out over a longer period and means the “curve” is flatter. This makes it easier for health systems to cope.

  1. Lockdown: A restriction on movement or daily life, where public buildings are closed and people told to stay at home.

It is an emergency protocol that prevents people from leaving a given area. A full lockdown will mean you must stay where you are, and not exit or enter a building or the given area.

Lockdowns have been imposed in several countries as part of drastic efforts at controlling the spread of the Coronavirus disease.

  1. Pandemic: It is an epidemic of serious disease spreading rapidly in many countries simultaneously. A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease that affects large numbers of people.

Interestingly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reportedly had avoided using the word at first in the course of Coronavirus outbreak because “it didn’t want to give the impression that the disease was unstoppable.”

  1. Epidemic: An epidemic is a regional outbreak of an illness that spreads unexpectedly, according to the WHO.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention defines it as “an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above normal expectations in a set population.”

  1. Self-isolation: Staying inside and avoiding all contact with other people, with the aim of preventing the spread of a disease.

14. Physical or Social distancing: Keeping away from other people, with the aim of slowing down transmission of a disease.

Governments worldwide advise populations on not seeing friends or relatives other than those you live with, working from home where possible and avoiding public transport.

  1. Virus: A tiny agent that copies itself inside the living cells of any organism. Viruses can cause these cells to die and interrupt the body’s normal chemical processes, causing disease.
  2. Incubation: The incubation period is the time it takes for symptoms to appear after a person is infected.

This time is important for prevention and control, and it allows health officials to quarantine or observe people who may have been exposed to the virus.

The new Coronavirus has an incubation period of “two to 14 days”, according to the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); with symptoms appearing about five days after infection in most cases.

During the incubation period, people may shed infectious virus particles before they exhibit symptoms; making it almost impossible to identify and isolate people who have the virus.

17. Self-quarantine: Isolation means separating sick people from people who aren’t sick.

18. Quarantine: This is the separation and restriction of people’s movement who were exposed to the virus. Experts want to see if they become sick while there.

This term is important to keep the virus from spreading; along with measures like social distancing, frequent hand-washing and wearing masks.

  1. Fatality rate: The fatality rate is the number of deaths divided by the total number of confirmed cases.

Eventually, scientists hope to have a more comprehensive COVID-19 infection fatality rate and this includes everyone who got the virus.

  1. Containment: The virus’s high transmission rate makes it difficult to effectively contain the outbreak. Containment is using any available tools to reduce the spread of disease.

21. Category 1 Traveller: People who should self-isolate, regardless of showing any symptoms, if they have travelled to the Hubei Province in China, Iran, Italy, or Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea.

22. Category 2 Traveller: Travellers returning from countries including Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. These people should only self-isolate and call NHS 111 if they develop symptoms.

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