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Vocabulary Words: Covid- 19 Edition

  • January 21, 2021

The 2020 Pandemic has introduced quite a lot of technical words that may not be easy to understand, regarding the virus. It is important to be aware of what experts recommend so that we can follow guidelines and keep ourselves and the people around us safe. Below is a guide with a few of those phrases and their meanings simplified. 


Referred Terms and Types


A group of viruses named for their crown-like spikes which resemble the sun’s corona. They are common in people and many animals. Some types include SARS and MERS.

 SARS-CoV2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2)
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19. “CoV” stands for coronavirus and “2” expresses that it is the second coronavirus causing SARS.


Coronavirus disease 2019. The illness emerged in China in December 2019 and causes pneumonia, lung failure, kidney failure, and even death. It is more severe in people ages 60+yrs or with health conditions like lung or heart disease, diabetes or conditions that affect their immune system.​




mRNA vaccines:

A new type of vaccine that protects against infectious diseases. Unlike other vaccines that put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies to trigger an immune response, mRNA vaccines teach our cells to make protein that triggers the response. 



An oral drug used to treat malaria, autoimmune diseases like lupus and arthritis and is effective in treating patients with COVID-19. 


Clinical trial:

Research experiments on human participants about the new treatments regarding the efficiency and safety of the COVID- 19 vaccines.


Vaccine Rollout

The vaccine rollout has been broken into phases to prioritize it’s supplication to the most vulnerable of people first.

Phase 1A: 

  • Healthcare workers and long-term care residents Phase 1B Tier one:

  • Individuals 75 and older, and those at risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from exposure.

  • Essential workers (non-health care workers)

  • Phase 1B Tier two: 

  • Individuals 65-75 years of age

  • Those at risk of exposure at work in sectors: transportation logistics, industrial, commercial, residential, sheltering facilities

  • Incarcerated and homeless

  • Phase1 C: 

  • People 16-64 years of age with an underlying health condition or disability increasing their risk of COVID- 19

  • Those at risk of exposure at work in sectors: transportation, food service, housing construction, information technology, communications, law, media, public safety and public health. 



Herd immunity:

Reduced risk of infection within a community. Often because of previous exposure or vaccination.

R0 (R- naught):

Measures how contagious a disease is. COVID-19’s R0 is 2 to 2.5, meaning, each person who’s infected can spread the virus to two or more people. 

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

Specialized clothing and equipment worn by healthcare professionals when caring for patients with infectious diseases.


After Diagnosation



Presentation of no symptoms of COVID-19; absence of fever, dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, and body aches. Excessive testing for COVID-19 will not exhibit accurately unless symptoms are present.

Incubation period: 

The interval between being infected and expressing symptoms.  The period lasts for 3-14 days and symptoms can appear after an average of 5-6 days.

Case fatality rate:

The ratio of deaths from COVID-19 to the number of individuals who were diagnosed with it. 

Worldwide- 2M to 93.3M

United States- 389K to 23.4M

Contact tracing:

Identification of people who might have come into contact with an infected person. This is important so that state and local public health officials are able to track the infection and control the spread of it.

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