COVID-19: 11 Common Terms And Phrases You Should Know

COVID-19: 11 Common Terms And Phrases You Should Know

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

Coronavirus has affected the world in more ways than one, introducing a list of unique words into our vocabulary. The rapid spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has sparked alarm worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. And many countries are grappling with a rise in confirmed cases.

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, new words are entering the lexicon. And we’re here to help. Here’s a guide to the list of unique words and phrases you must know to stay abreast of the latest developments.

 A List Of  Terms And Phrases That Have To Do With COVID-19

list of unique words

As we get more and more expert advice, scientific terms and phrases will become more common in our everyday lives. But what do all these terms mean? Here's a breakdown of what you need to understand:

A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease that affects large numbers of people. The W.H.O. had avoided using the word before Wednesday because it didn’t want to give the impression that the disease was unstoppable.

An epidemic is a regional outbreak of an illness that spreads unexpectedly, according to the W.H.O. The Centers 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.

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.

Terms And Phrases Used To Discuss Covid-19 Continue Below


Authorities can declare a state of emergency during natural disasters, epidemics and other public health emergencies. Declaring a state of emergency gives government officials the authority to take extra measures to protect the public; such as suspending regulations or reallocating funds to mitigate the spread of the disease.

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 C.D.C.; 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.

The virus spreads easily in dense places — in a packed car, for example, or at a rally or concert. Social distancing refers to measures that we take to increase the physical space between us and people to slow the spread of the virus. And some examples include working from home, school closings and the postponement or cancellation of mass gatherings. By maintaining a distance of six feet from others when possible, we can reduce the spread of the virus.


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

While isolation means separating sick people from people who aren’t sick, quarantine is the separation and restriction of people's movement who were exposed to the virus. Experts want to see if they become sick.

Who should self-quarantine?

If you visited an area where the virus is spreading like China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, you should self-quarantine at home. Do this for a period of 14 days from the time you left, according to the C.D.C. While in quarantine, you shouldn’t receive any visitors and you must stay three to six feet away from others at all times. According to the C.D.C., once you quarantine for 14 days and don’t become ill, you're not a risk to other people.

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.

The W.H.O. says the fatality rate of the new coronavirus is about 3 per cent, based on current data. But experts suggest that 1 per cent is more realistic.

List of distinct words contd.


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.

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.

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.


A lockdown 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. This scenario usually allows for essential supplies, grocery stores, pharmacies and banks to continue to serve the people. All non-essential activities remain shut for the entire period.

NY Times Harvard Health

Also read: What Do Coronavirus And Face Masks Have In Common?

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are personal and belong solely to the author; and do not represent those of theAsianparent or its clients.

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