A Dictionary for the pandemic
Pandemic
Coronavirus
Wuhan
Quarantine
Lockdown
Face mask
Social distancing
Zoonosis
Flattening the curve
Cumulative incidence
Anti-vaxxer
Airborne transmission
PCR
Antigen test
Double Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia
Long Covid
How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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A Dictionary for the pandemic

The coronavirus has brought many changes to our lives. Nothing will be the same. Beyond the virus itself, the pandemic has also introduced new words that were pretty rare, but now we use them in everyday conversation.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Pandemic

The word “pandemic” itself was not part of our common parlance before 2020. Maybe "epidemic" was more common but "pandemic", which is an epidemic that has spread across different communities or regions, feels pretty new. Let's see what other words the pandemic has also taught us.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Coronavirus

The coronavirus has been at the center of everything that has been going on over the past two years. The virus gets its name from the crown-like (corona) appearance that can be seen when observed through a microscope. It comes from an unknown animal, and its transmission to humans caused the chaos we're all living in.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Wuhan

This once-obscure city in China is where it all began. According to a study published by Science, the first Covid-19 infection happened in a wet market located in Wuhan. This caused the whole world to change forever.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Quarantine

First, the old-fashioned “quarantine” was used to describe how everyone had to stay home to avoid spreading the virus.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Lockdown

When it was clear that the virus would last far more than 40 days, the more appropriate “lockdown” took over.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Face mask

Face masks were something only seen in very specific environments, such as in hospitals or worksites, where there was a risk to of exposure to toxic fumes. Now it has become one of the most iconic symbols of life under Covid-19.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Social distancing

When the idea that we all had to be a few feet away from everyone else was announced, it sounded pretty alien. However, people got used to “social distancing” as soon as the true scope of the pandemic could be appreciated.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Zoonosis

Zoonosis is an animal infection or disease that can be transmitted to people. Some people have speculated that bats or pangolins could be the origin of the coronavirus, but the truth is that nobody is certain. Perhaps we will never know.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
(10/18)
Flattening the curve

During the first wave of the pandemic, the goal was “flattening the curve” amidst the skyrocketing number of casualties and very little knowledge of the virus. The only measure the governments could do was make everyone stay at home, hoping Covid-19 cases would go down.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Cumulative incidence

Encyclopedia Britannica defines “cumulative incidence” as an “estimate of the risk that an individual will develop a disease”. This is usually calculated by dividing the number of cases for every 100,000 inhabitants. The arrival of the Omicron variant has increased the number of cases to unthinkable levels.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Anti-vaxxer

People against vaccines already existed before, presumably somewhere in the vicinity of flat-earthers, but they got into the eye of the storm by loudly proclaiming their beliefs. Some of these include the idea that there's a global conspiracy to put microchips in people through the vaccine.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Airborne transmission

It was originally believed that Covid-19 was spread through droplets we release in our saliva. Then it was discovered that the virus is also airborne, meaning that it remains suspended in the air, where anyone can catch it for hours.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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PCR

Having a wooden swab stick put up your nose has become a nasty, unavoidable experience in the past years. PCR tests (which stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction), are a standard procedure to detect if there's a virus living in your organism.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Antigen test

Despite being less certain than the PCR tests, the arrival of the antigen rapid tests to the pharmacies has allowed many people to see for themselves if they are infected without the risk of going out.

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Double Pneumonia

Pneumonia needs no introduction, but the outbreak of Covid-19 has shown new ways that the disease can affect people. Double pneumonia, the infection of both lungs, is one of the most serious and life-threatening ailments of the coronavirus.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Walking pneumonia

Walking pneumonia, also known as atypical pneumonia, is something new we also learned with Covid-19. It can go on without the person realizing there's something wrong with their lungs until it's too late.

How Covid-19 changed the way we speak
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Long Covid

The World Health Organization admitted on December 2021 the existence of “Long Covid”, symptoms that remain with former patients long after the virus has come and gone. These vary but include extreme fatigue, mental fog, muscle pain, and migraines, among others.

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