Building the COVID19 Word Register

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By Elvis Eromosele

Since COVID19 burst into our consciousness in December 2019 it has grown in leaps and bounds. Today, COVID19 and news about its impact dominate every segment of the global economy. Everyone is talking about it. Everyone is affected and touched by its tentacles. Everyone wishes it was fade just as it appeared.

Doctors and scientists are obsessed with searching for a cure, economists and politicians are worried about the impact on the economy and the general public are either scared silly or ignorantly unbelieving. COVID19 is the most talked-about disease in over a century.

The world has spoken so much about it that there are today a whole series of words built around the COVID19. While many of these words are new and are particularly for COVID19, others are used for infectious diseases in general and have become mainstream during this period.

In almost six months of battling the COVID19 pandemic, certain words have become prevalent. A whole new register is being created. We are witness to this dynamic process of creating the COVID19 register. Word register refers to the grouping of words used frequently in a given field or area of study/life.

New words are being invented, new meaning given to existing words and fresh definitions are minted daily. To be regarded as knowledgeable in any field it helps to use the right register. The secret is to know how and when to throw the correct words.

If you want to be regarded as COVID19 Pandemic pseudo expert here are some words to remember:

COVID19 – This is the name of the disease, as given by the WHO. The disease is caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and is short for “Coronavirus Disease 2019.”

Covidanoid: It is the extreme fear of the COVID19. It is being paranoid of COVID19

Quarantine – It is to separate and restrict the movement of people exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not yet show symptoms.

Self-quarantine – To stay home and away from other people as much as possible after exposure.

Quarantigue: This refers to the fatigue/tiredness that result from spending too much time in isolation due to COVID19 scare or lockdown.

Covidcation: Term used for when work or school gets cancelled because of COVID19. Think compulsory stay at home precipitated by COVID19 lockdown.

Asymptomatic: This term is used to describe people who are showing no symptom of the COVID19 infection, although they can still transmit the virus to others.

Contact tracing – This refers to the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a contagious disease to prevent onward transmission.

Covidiot: A description of persons who deliberately and flagrantly ignore the warnings regarding COVID19 public health and safety. They are to be avoided as they put themselves and others at risk.

Super-spreader: An individual that is highly contagious and thus infect a large number of people. A woman in South Korea gave at least 37 people, at her church, COVID-19. She was a real super-spreader.

Lockdown: A lockdown is a protocol usually initiated by someone in a position of authority that prevents people, information or cargo from leaving an area. Across the world, several countries are currently in different levels of lockdown, partial or total.

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Community transmission/spread – Community transmission is said to occur when there is no clear source of origin of infection in a community. That is an infection case without a history of travel elsewhere and no connection to a known infection case. Nigeria has now entered the community transmission stage with COVID-19.

Droplet transmission/spread – A mode of transmission for a contagious disease that involves relatively large, short-range (less than 6 feet) respiratory droplets produced by sneezing, coughing, or talking.

Epidemic – A disease that is “affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.” COVID19 was initially classified as an epidemic.

Pandemic – An epidemic that has spread over several countries/continents, usually affecting a large number of people. This is sort of like the senior brother of epidemic.

Flattening the curve – This is a public health strategy introduced during the COVID19 pandemic. The curve being flattened is the epidemic curve, a visual representation of the number of infected people needing health care over time.

Home isolation – Persons with COVID19 who have symptoms or laboratory-confirmed COVID19 who have been directed to stay at home until they are recovered.

Isolation – Separating sick people with a contagious disease from those who are not sick.

Facemask: A cloth face coverings worn in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. It is most effective when used along with other preventive advice.

N95 respirator – This is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. It is essentially a facemask for medical and healthcare workers as they have to deal and interact closely with infected and possibly infected people.

Social distancing – This is a measure taken to reduce person-to-person contact in a given community, to stop or slow down the spread of COVID19. The measures can include working from home, closing offices and schools, cancelling events, avoiding public transportation and keeping a minimum of six feet from each other.

Ventilator – A device that delivers air into the lungs through a tube that is placed into the mouth or nose and down into the windpipe. It helps manage breathing difficulty.

Drive through testing – Here the individuals remain in their vehicles, and medical staff in protective gear come to administer the swab test and the swabs are sent to a laboratory for testing.

This is not an exhaustive COVID19 register.

I’m sure you can think of some words not captured in this register. No need to fret, simply add them in the comment section.

Please remember that awareness of the words in the register is not enough. We must ALL continue to follow the relevant guidelines for personal protection and prevention of spread of COVID19.

Together, we would overcome COVID19.

Elvis Eromosele, a Corporate Communication professional and public affairs analyst lives in Lagos.

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