(From 31st December, 2019 to 31st May, 2020)
“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.”
Learning English Vocabulary from COVID-19 and Corona virus
A language is made up of words. That’s why; words are also called building blocks of the language. The more you know the words, the more you will learn a particular language. Vocabulary learning is central to English language learning because without sufficient vocabulary, we cannot understand others or we cannot even express our own ideas. Wilkins (1972) wrote that “. . . while without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed” (pp. 111–112). This statement by Wilkins reflects the fact that even without grammar, with some useful words and expressions; we can often manage to communicate. So, if we want to communicate your ideas or thoughts about COVID-19 or corona virus, you will have to learn the words related with it . Since the time of outbreak of COVID-19 from China, all national and international media have been covering the news of this pandemic. Their continuous coverage of news of the present ongoing pandemic has given us a chance to go through so many words related with COVID-19. It is known to us that China first put Wuhan City, the centre of the outbreak of COVID-19, on lockdown on January 23, 2020. Likewise, the government of Nepal also implemented a lockdown starting on March 24, 2020 to curb the spread of CoVid-19. Since then, the whole country is in the state of lockdown continuously for more than two months. Utilizing my leisure time during lockdown, I have made an inventory of nearly all the words related with this pandemic. This article aims at exploring etymological, syntactic and pragmatic implications of all the words related with COVID-19 which have been buzzing in print and electronic media throughout the world since 31st December, 2020. Please have a look at the following inventory of COVID-19 related words
1. COVID-19: ( को=भिड=नाइन=टिन _
Parts of Speech: Noun
Pronunciation: [ koh-vid-nahyn-teen ] ( को=भिड=नाइन=टिन _
Pronunciation in British English: /ˌkəʊ.vɪd.naɪnˈtiːn/ कौ.भिड.नाइन.टिन
Its meaning: an infectious disease caused be corona virus
Etymology: From etymological point of view, the word COVID-19 has come into existence as a result of blending of two separate words COVID and the year 2019. The word COVID-19, a proper noun, is an acronym in which ‘CO’ stands for Corona, ‘VI’ stands for Virus, ‘D’ for disease, and 19 for the year 2019. So far as the pronunciation of the word COVID-19 is concerned, it is pronounced as /ˌkəʊ.vɪd.naɪnˈtiːn/ in British English and as /ˌkoʊ.vɪd.naɪnˈtiːn/ in American English. We can easily pronounce this word by saying [ koh-vid-nahyn-teen ]. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, this word can be pronounced as \ ˈkō-vid-nīn-ˈtēn \
Its use in sentence: COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
Definitions: There are various definitions of the word COVID-19. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines COVID-19 as a mild to severe respiratory illness that is caused by a corona virus (Severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 of the genus Betacoronavirus), is transmitted chiefly by contact with infectious material (such as respiratory droplets) or with objects or surfaces contaminated by the causative virus, and is characterized especially by fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure.
The word COVID-19 can also be defined as an infectious disease caused be a corona virus (a type of virus), that usually causes fever, tiredness, coughs, and can also cause breathing problems. Most often the disease is not serious but it can also lead to severe illness in some people.
Simply speaking, COVID-19 is the name of a disease caused by corona virus. It is a part of a family of corona virus diseases that include the common cold, SARS, and MERS.
Use of this word in sentence: Studies suggest that the virus that causes CoVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.
Let’s try to understand the symptoms of COVID-19 from the following figure.
2. Coronavirus: को=रो=नअ=भाइ=रस
It’s a hybrid word from the Latin corona, meaning crown, and the Latin virus, originally meaning a poisonous secretion from snakes – ie a kind of venom. Scientists gave the virus the name because those knobbly bits on the surface of the virus are like the crests and balls of a crown.
Parts of speech: noun
Pronunciation in British English: /kəˈrəʊ.nəˌvaɪə.rəs/ [coROnaVIrus]
Pronunciation in American English: /kəˈroʊ.nəˌvaɪ.rəs/ [coROnaVIrus]
any of a family (Coronaviridae) of large single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped spike proteins, infect birds and many mammals including humans, and include the causative agents of MERS, SARS, and COVID-19
Its use in sentence: A mutated coronavirus was also detected in family members of the first SARS case in Taiwan.
The word “pandemic” comes from the Greek “pan-“, “all” + “demos,” “people or population” = “pandemos” = “all the people.” A pandemic affects all (nearly all) of the people. By contrast, “epi-” means “upon.” An epidemic is visited upon the people. And “en-” means “in.” An endemic is in the people.
Parts of speech: Noun (COVID-19 is a pandemic.) & Adjective (a pandemic disease)
Pronunciation: /pænˈdemɪk/ प्यान=डे=मिक
Its use in sentence: COVID-19 is a pandemic.
Definition: A pandemic is the global outbreak of a disease. Such an outbreak spreads across countries or continents. It affects more people and takes more lives than an epidemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic on March 11, 2020 when it became clear that the illness was severe and that it was spreading quickly over a wide area nearly the whole world. The entire human history has witnessed a number of pandemics of diseases such as smallpox, tuberculosis, the Plague, influenza pandemic, HIV/AIDS, etc. COVID-19 can be taken as an example of current pandemic.
Difference among outbreak, epidemic and pandemic:
An outbreak (Small, but unusual): It is a sudden rise in the number of cases of a disease. It may occur in a community or geographical area, or may affect even several countries. An outbreak may last for a few days or weeks, or even for several years. When a new disease emerges, outbreaks are more noticeable since the anticipated number of illness caused by that disease was zero. When there was a sudden increase in pneumonia cases among market-goers in Wuhan, China, it was taken as an outbreak of a new type of corona virus, now named SARS-CoV-2.
An epidemic (Bigger and Spreading): It is an outbreak of a disease over a larger geographic area. It usually affects a larger area than an outbreak. When people in places outside of Wuhan, China began testing positive for infection with corona virus, epidemiologists knew that the outbreak was spreading. The widespread cases of COVID-19 across China signaled that the Wuhan outbreak had grown to an epidemic.
A pandemic (International and out of control):
A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. It differs from an outbreak or epidemic because it:
• affects a wider geographical area, often worldwide.
• infects a greater number of people than an epidemic.
• is often caused by a new virus or a strain of virus that has not circulated among people for a long time. Humans usually have little to no immunity against it. The virus spreads quickly from person-to-person worldwide.
• causes much higher numbers of deaths than epidemics.
• often creates social disruption, economic loss, and general hardship.
Difference Between an Epidemic and a Pandemic: Let’s try to understand the basic differences between these two terms from the following figure.
Difference among an outbreak, an epidemic and a pandemic: The striking differences among these three terms are clear from the following figure.
4. Community Spread
Pronunciation: /kəˈmjuːnəti/ /spred/ क=म्यु=नअ्टी स्प्रेड
Parts of speech: Noun
It means people have been infected with a contagious disease in an area where people are not sure how or where they became infected.
Its use in sentence:
The first known use of community spread was in 1945.
Definition: Community spread refers to a process when the virus starts spreading in the general masses. Community spread is detected when a confirmed case of the virus is found without having a known origin. It happens when a person without any travel history or interaction with any infected person contracts the virus.
5. Quarantine and isolation:
Pronunciation of quarantine: /ˈkwɒrəntiːn/ 3 syllables: “KWORR” + “uhn” + “teen” क्वो=रन=टिन
Pronunciation of isolation: /ˌaɪsəˈleɪʃ(ə)n/ आइ.सअ्=लेइ=शन
Synonyms of isolation: separation, withdrawal, loneliness, segregation
Quarantine: It is a restriction on the movement of people and goods which are intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests. It is often used in connection to disease and illness, preventing the movement of those who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, but do not have a confirmed medical diagnosis.
Isolation: In general, isolation is when someone or something is set apart or separated from other persons or things. In medical contexts, isolation specifically means “the complete separation from others of a person suffering from contagious or infectious disease.” While isolation is when someone who has been tested positive for COVID-19 is separated from other people in order to stop the spread of the virus.
Difference between quarantine and isolation can be observed from the following figure.
Parts of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: /ˌkəʊmɔːˈbɪdɪtɪ/ कौ=मोः=बि=डि=टि
Its meaning: the occurrence of more than one illness or condition at the same time
Its use in sentence: Our treatment of comorbidity was simplistic because of data quality.
Definition/Concept: It refers to a medical condition, in which a person has more than one disease at the same time. Cases of co morbidity have a higher risk of turning sensitive in case of COVID-19. For example, if someone has high blood pressure and is also diabetic, they have co morbidities and have a higher risk of developing complications.
7. Social Distancing
Parts of speech: Noun
Its meaning: 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
Its use in sentence: Under a new “social distancing” strategy, handshaking could be discouraged.
Concept/Definitions: Currently, everyone is talking about social distancing and how it can prevent the spread of the disease. It basically means keeping a safe distance of about three to six feet from others. This distance will not only prevent us from contracting any kind of infection but will also break the chain of the disease. What happens when we maintain or do not maintain social distance can better be understood from the following figure.
8. Flattening the Curve
Word Category: Noun phrase
Its meaning: Flattening the curve means slowing the spread of the epidemic so that the peak number of people requiring care at a time is reduced, and the health care system does not exceed its capacity. Flattening the curve relies on mitigation techniques such as social distancing.
Its use in sentence: Flattening the curve of COVID-19 is the need of present time.
Concept/Definition: Flattening the curve is a public health strategy to slow down the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Flattening the curve” simply means slowing down the rate at which the disease is spreading. It can only be done by taking necessary precautions, practicing hand hygiene and maintaining social distancing.
9. Incubation Period
Parts of speech: Noun
Its meaning: a time period required for the virus to develop symptoms of a disease in the body
Its use in sentence: The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2-14 days.
Concept/Definition: Incubation period refers to the time period required for the virus to develop symptoms in the body. In simpler terms, it is the time period between contracting a virus and emergence of its symptoms. The incubation period of COVID-19 is somewhere between 2-14 days.
Parts of speech: adjective
Its meaning: producing or showing no symptoms
Its use in sentence: A case report shows Up to 80% of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic.
Concept/Definitions: Asymptomatic means showing no symptoms of a disease. A person infected with the virus can be asymptomatic because they are in an early stage of infection and symptoms have not yet developed, or they may not develop any symptoms at all during their infection.
The following figure clarifies the difference among symptomatic, presymptomatic and asymptomatic.
11. Case Fatality Rate (CFR)
Parts of speech: Compound Noun
Its meaning: the ratio of deaths occurring from a particular cause to the total number of cases due to the same cause
Its use in sentence: The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 is 3-8%.
CFR refers to an estimate of the risk of mortality from a contagious disease. The CFR is calculated by dividing the number of deaths caused by a disease by the number of cases of that disease in a given time period. The CFR is time and location-dependent, and many different factors can influence the CFR, such as speed of diagnosis of cases, health system capacity, age and other demographic characteristics, among others. For COVID-19, estimates of the CFR have varied; in China, CFR estimates by province have ranged from <1% to 5.8%. Sources: CDC/Lipsitch et. al./WHO
An example of CFR calculation is given below.
12. Close Contact
Parts of speech: Compound Noun
Its meaning: anyone who has been in touch of an infected person
Its use in sentence: Close contacts are those that are likely to be at a higher risk of being infected.
Concept/Definitions : In the context of COVID-19, the close contact can be defined as anyone who has been within 6 feet of a person infected with the virus for a prolonged period of time, or has had direct contact with the infected person’s secretions.
13. Contact Tracing
Its use in sentence: To determine the exact number of infected persons, contact tracing is essential.
Concept/Definitions: Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a contagious disease to prevent onward transmission. (Source: WHO)
An example of contract tracing can be seen from the following figure.
14. Cordon Sanitaire
Concept/Definitions: Cordon sanitaire is a measure of preventing anyone from leaving a defined geographic area, such as a community, region, or country infected by a disease to stop the spread of the disease. The synonyms of cordon sanitaire are given in the following figure.
15. Droplet Transmission/Spread
Concept/Definitions: Droplet transmission is 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.
An example of droplet transmission is as follows.
16. Home Isolation
Concept: Persons with COVID-19 or the persons, who have symptoms or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, are directed to stay at home until they are recovered.
Let’s look at an example of home isolation from the following figure.
17. N95 respirator (face mask)
Concept: N95 respirator surgical masks (face masks) are the personal protective equipments that are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.
The following figure shows a piece of mask which we call N95 mask
The differences between N95 and surgical masks can better be understood from the following figure.
Concept/Definition: A ventilator is a device that delivers air into the lungs through a tube that is placed into the mouth or nose and down into the windpipe.
The figure of a ventilator is given below.
Parts of speech: Noun
Its meaning: an emergency measure or condition in which people are temporarily prevented from entering or leaving a restricted area or building (such as a school) during a threat of danger
Its use in sentence: Since the country went into lockdown on Chaitra 11, hotels, restaurants, cafés and most businesses have been shut.
Concept/Definition: Lockdown is a term that refers to measures being placed on the whole of society to restrict movement and services to their essentials, of which mass quarantining is a part.
A lockdown can also be used to protect people inside a facility or, for example, a computing system, from a threat or other external event. In buildings doors leading outside are usually locked so that no person may enter or exit. A full lockdown usually means that people must stay where they are and may not enter or exit a building or rooms within it, needing to go to the nearest place designated safe if not already in such a place. A drill lockdown may be held in the absence of a threat, to familiarize people with what they must do.(Source : Wikipedia)
Why are we in lockdown?
The thinking behind lockdown is to ‘flatten the curve’ of the pace of advance of the virus.
COVID-19 is a relatively contagious disease: seemingly twice as contagious as the flu, and less contagious than MERS.
The following figure depicts the state of lockdown that we are in.
20. Hand Sanitizer
Parts of speech: Compound Noun
Its meaning: a liquid, gel, or foam generally used to decrease infectious agents on the hands
Its use in sentence: In most healthcare settings, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are preferable to hand washing with soap and water.
Hand sanitizer, also called hand antiseptic, or hand rub, is the agent applied to the hands for the purpose of removing common pathogens (disease-causing organisms).Hand sanitizers typically come in foam, gel, or liquid form. Their use is recommended when soap and water are not available for hand washing or when repeated hand washing compromises the natural skin barrier (e.g., causing scaling or fissures to develop in the skin). Although the effectiveness of hand sanitizer is variable, it is employed as a simple means of infection control in a wide variety of settings, from day-care centers and schools to hospitals and health care clinics and from supermarkets to cruise ships.
The hand sanitizers protect us against infections in the following ways
21. Washing Hands
Its meaning: act of cleaning one’s hands to remove soil, grease, microorganisms, or other unwanted substances
Its use in sentence: Washing hands frequently prevents the spread of COVID-19.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection.
The following figure shows PPE.
Parts of speech: Noun
Its meaning: a change in your body or mind that shows that you are not healthy
Its use in sentence: Look out for symptoms of COVID-19.
Concept/Definition: Symptom is a physical or mental feature which is regarded as indicating a condition of disease, particularly such a feature that is apparent to the patient.
Symptoms of COVID-19:
The symptoms of COVID-19 are given in the following figure.
Parts of speech: Noun & Verb
Noun- a piece of soft material used by a doctor, nurse, etc. for cleaning wounds or taking a sample from somebody’s body for testing
Verb- to clean or remove liquid from a wound, etc. using a swab
Its use in sentence: The nurse used sterile cotton wool swabs(N) to obtain swab(V) specimens of the wound.
Concept/Definition: Swab (noun) is a small piece of soft material used for cleaning a cut or for taking a small amount of substance from a body, or the substance itself that can then be tested:
The nurse cleaned the cut on my leg with a swab.
“I’m just going to take a swab of your ear,” said the doctor.
Swab (verb) : to wash a surface, especially the open, flat areas of a ship, with a wet cloth or mop
A nasopharyngeal swab (or nasopharyngeal culture) is a method for collecting a clinical test sample of nasal secretions from the back of the nose and throat. The sample is then analyzed for the presence of organisms or other clinical markers for disease. This diagnostic method is commonly used in suspected cases of whooping cough, diphtheria, influenza, and various types of diseases caused by the corona virus family of viruses, including SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. (Source: Wikipedia)
The following figure shows to obtain a nasopharyngeal swab.
25. PCR Test
Concept/Definitions: PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction. It is a process that causes a very small well-defined segment of DNA to be amplified, or multiplied many hundreds of thousands of times, so there is enough of it to be detected and analyzed. Viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 do not contain DNA but only RNA.PCR tests detect the genetic information of the virus, the RNA. That’s only possible if the virus is there and someone is actively infected.
The following figure shows how a corona virus test works.
26. Testing Kits for Corona virus
Concept/Definitions: A test kit is a commercially packaged system of the principal or key components of an analytical method used to determine the presence of a specific analyte(s) in a given matrix (es). Test kits include directions for their use and are often self contained, complete analytical systems; but they may require supporting supplies and equipment. The key components frequently represent proprietary elements or reagents that may be readily prepared only by the producer of the kit.
An example of COVID-19 Blood Test KIT is as follows.
Parts of speech: Noun
Its meaning: a substance that the body produces in the blood to fight against diseases
An antibody is a blood protein produced in response to and counteracting a specific antigen. Antibodies combine chemically with substances which the body recognizes as alien, such as bacteria, viruses, and foreign substances in the blood.
The concept of antibody can be understood from the following figure.
At last, I would like to say that “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” I strongly believe that the words simplified in this article will help you in broadening your knowledge of COVID-19 and coronavirus which will ultimately make you and your loved ones aware of the present pandemic. Thanking you !