Coronavirus Vocabulary: A guide to COVID-19 related words

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The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down. The world is fighting an invisible enemy that is destroying everything that comes in its way. In this scenario, when information about the coronavirus is all that you see and hear, there are a few terms whose meanings you must be aware of.

Read on to understand the words commonly associated with the coronavirus.


COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease.

Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.’ The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.

Usage: Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19.

Contact tracing:

The practice of identifying and monitoring individuals who may have had contact with an infectious person as a means of controlling the spread of a communicable disease.

Usage: After X was tested positive for the coronavirus, the government is contact tracing and testing all people that were in contact with him.


A restraint upon the activities or communication of persons or the transport of goods designed to prevent the spread of disease or pests.

Usage: The people infected by the coronavirus were put into quarantine by the government.


To refrain from any contact with other individuals for a period of time during the outbreak of a contagious disease usually by remaining in one’s home and limiting contact with family members.

Usage: The government has asked all those that have traveled from out of the country to self-quarantine.


Showing no evidence of disease.

Usage: Just because a person is asymptomatic, it doesn’t mean that he cannot infect others.

Community Spread:

Spread of a disease where the infection source is unknown.

Usage: We must do all it takes to ensure that community spread of COVID-19 does not take place.


A temporary prevalence of a disease spreading from person to person in a locality where that disease is not permanently prevalent.

Usage: Earlier, when the coronavirus was associated with certain regions of China only, the WHO had termed it an epidemic.


A disease prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world. A pandemic is an epidemic that has spread over a large area.

Usage: In the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic, the death toll reached a staggering 20 to 40 million worldwide.


The fact that people who have a disease or condition also have one or more other diseases or conditions.

Usage: People who have comorbidities are at a higher risk of being susceptible to severe symptoms of the COVID-19 than others.

Social Distancing:

The practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance (such as six feet or more) from other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection

Usage: Social distancing is an effective way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 because it is highly contagious.

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A machine that helps people breathe correctly by allowing air to flow in and out of their lungs.

Usage: The patient was brought into the Intensive Care Unit and put on ventilator due to trouble with breathing.

Super Spreader:

An individual who is highly contagious and capable of transmitting a communicable disease to an unusually large number of uninfected individuals.

Usage: The food delivery boy came into contact with 83 other families and could turn out to be a super spreader of the COVID-19.

Are there any other terms widely associated with COVID-19? Do let us know in the comments section below.

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