Coronavirus terminology: How many of these do you know?

March 26, 2020

With 471,407 positive coronavirus cases across the world and India crossing the 600-mark, the government has been taking many safety measures and in doing so there were a lot of terms related to the virus that you must have come across. These include lockdown, isolation, quarantine, social distancing to name a few. But are you familiar with the now widely used coronavirus terminology? In order to ensure your own and your loved ones’ safety, you need to understand why these terms are important and how they can help contain the spread of the virus.


A name given by the World Health Organization (WHO) on February 11, 2020 for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, started in Wuhan, China (2019), it is an acronym for ‘coronavirus disease of 2019’.


A scientific term, SARS-CoV-2 is an acronym for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and suggests that coronavirus is related to SARS but quite different. Named by WHO, in non-scientific terms it is called “the virus responsible for Covid-19” or “the Covid-19 virus” to avoid creating confusion for populations that were affected by SARS.


One of the most extreme cases of separation, the Oxford Dictionary meaning of the word is “the act of separating someone or something; the state of being separate” meaning if anyone tests positive for the disease will be completely isolated from others and shall come in contact with no person other than any medical personnel wearing a protective gear.


a period of time when an animal or a person that has or may have a disease is kept away from others in order to prevent the disease from spreading.” This means, in case anyone is suspected to  have the disease, he/she has to stay away from public spaces for a period of 14 days to check if symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) are starting to show.


The word which means “an official order to control the movement of people or vehicles because of a dangerous situation” as per the dictionary is enforced by the government to lower the number of people stepping outside in order to contain the spread of the disease further.

Social distancing

As the name suggest, it means the practise of distancing each other while at a social place or lessening physical interaction. It doesn’t mean not stepping out home but even if you go out, you should maintain a physical distance from one another with at least a gap of 1 metre.


a disease “that spreads over a whole country or the whole world.” (Oxford English Dictionary)


“A large number of cases of a particular disease or medical condition happening at the same time in a particular community.” (Oxford English Dictionary)


he sudden start of something unpleasant, especially violence or a disease.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

Community transmission

This refers to the spread of the virus is happening uncontrollably in a community or one that is not spreading not from overseas but between people staying in the community.


“A law that says that people must not go outside after a particular time at night until the morning; the time after which nobody must go outside.” (Oxford English Dictionary)


Scientifically, the term means “having two different illnesses at the same time” or when one person who has tested positive for coronavirus, already has another health issue at the same time.

PPE or Personal protective equipment

It usually refers to face masks, safety gears and suits. It is anything used/worn by a person to reduce risks to one’s health and safety.


According to Urban Dictionary, it is “someone who ignores the warnings regarding public health or safety. A person who hoards goods, denying them from their neighbours.”

Also read: Online classes amidst coronavirus outbreak

Also read: COVID 19: Benefits of Vitamin C

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