The new coronavirus: key terms explained

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 31, 2020 - Duration: 01:59s

The new coronavirus: key terms explained

Here are some of the key terms surrounding the new coronavirus explained, as new words and phrases enter the mainstream and become conflated.

Megan Revell reports.


The new coronavirus: key terms explained

As health terms enter the mainstream, many words are being conflated.

Here’s a run down of the main ones, starting with “coronavirus,” not to be confused with COVID-19.

There are several human coronaviruses, just as there are many other types of human viruses.

The new one that emerged in China in December is called SARS-CoV2.

That causes the respiratory disease “COVID-19,” which has spread around the world, evolving into a “pandemic.” Pandemic and epidemic are both descriptive terms rather than official classifications or rankings.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING IN AN ADDRESS TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM THE OVAL OFFICE:“Today, the World Health Organization officially announced that this is a global pandemic." Contrary to popular belief, the World Health Organization does not "declare" outbreaks as having a status.

Epidemic generally describes a disease outbreak over a wide geographic area.

Pandemic describes an epidemic that has spread to multiple countries on several continents.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING:“ I'm self isolating." Self-isolation applies to people who have symptoms, and to those who live with them.

It involves staying at home, and distancing yourself from others you live with as much as possible.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGLAND HEAD COACH, EDDIE JONES, SAYING:“Keep your discipline, keep your social distance.” Courtesy: @ENGLANDRUGBY “Social distancing”, meanwhile, has been introduced by many governments and is designed to contain the virus by reducing face-to-face contact as much as possible.

Quarantine is a way of separating and restricting those who may have been exposed to a disease.


RYAN, SAYING:“And going down isn't just about a lockdown, and let go.” A lockdown, or shutdown, is being used to describe more general and widespread restrictions on movement.

A vaccine is something that would be given to a healthy person to prevent them from being infected with a disease.

An anti-viral, meanwhile, is a type of medicine, or therapeutic, that would be given to try and treat a person who is infected with a viral disease - such as COVID-19.

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