A COVID-19 Dictionary
In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there have been a number of words and phrases used that may be new to people. We compiled a list of the most common phrases and explained them here.
Coronavirus: A family of seven viruses first identified in the 1960’s which cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) .
Novel coronavirus: A new type of coronavirus that has not been previously identified.
COVID-19: The disease caused by the novel (new) coronavirus discovered in late 2019. Like SARS and MERS, COVID-19 is a more serious disease caused by a particular coronavirus. Older individuals and those with underlying health conditions who contact the novel coronavirus may have more severe symptoms associated with COVID-19.
COVID-19 crisis or COVID-19 pandemic: The global outbreak of the disease COVID-19.
Social distancing or physical distancing: To reduce the number of physical interactions and the closeness of your interactions between people. It’s recommended to maintain a six-foot distance between others. Friends and family are encouraged to remain social in digital ways like phone calls and video chats.
Stay-at-home or shelter-in-place: These terms refer to orders given by state (and sometimes local) governments to limit travel and physical interaction among a population to slow the spread of COVID-19. Typically, people must stay in their home except for essential activities and work. However, each state’s orders differ. Check with your state’s stay-at-home requirements.
Quarantine: The act of isolating oneself after having come in contact with an infectious or contagious disease. Those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but are not confirmed sick should quarantine themselves for 14 days from their first exposure. Because many people get COVID-19 without developing any symptoms, it is important that those exposed treat themselves as if they are sick and contagious. While in quarantine, one should stay home except for medical care or emergencies; if they live with others, stay in a separate area of their home if possible; and have any necessities delivered. If you develop symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.
Isolation: This term is virtually the same as quarantine, except it is used for those who have been confirmed to have COVID-19. Again, one should stay home except for medical care or emergencies; if they live with others, stay in a separate area of their home if possible; and have any necessities delivered. If your symptoms worsen, especially if you are having trouble breathing, contact your healthcare provider.
As a reminder, continue to practice physical distancing, proper handwashing, and the disinfection of surfaces in your home. We all must do what we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 and support one another during this time. With compassion and understanding, we will get through this and become a stronger community together.