The Language of Coronavirus

A useful glossary of coronavirus terms

With all this daily information about the novel Coronavirus comes a plethora of new words and expressions that we have not or rarely heard before.
So here is a little glossary to help you navigate the news!

Communicable (Adjective): term used to describe diseases that can be transmitted.

Community spread (Noun phrase): the spread of a disease in a particular area where there is “no direct knowledge of how or when someone contracted the disease.”

Contact tracing (Noun): the action of identifying people who may have come into contact with someone infected with the disease.

COVID-19 (Noun): the specific illness related to the current epidemic and stands for “COronaVIrus Disease 2019.”

Disease cluster (Noun phrase): a “group of similar health events that have occurred in the same area around the same time.”

MERS (Noun): is the name of another type of coronavirus, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Novel (Adjective): New – a strain that has not been detected in humans before.

Reservoir (Noun): can refer to either an animal, a plant or an environment in which a disease can remain for long periods of time.

SARS (Noun): is the name of another type of coronavirus, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

Self-isolation (Noun): a quarantine but at home for someone with symptomatic or suspected COVID-19 who does not need to be hospitalized.

Social distancing (Noun phrase): the action of keeping a large amount of personal space (about one meter) between yourself and anyone who is sneezing or coughing.

Super-spreader (Noun): a person infected with a virus or disease who then spreads or transmits it to un unusually large group of people.

Symptomatic (Adjective): is used when referring to someone who is showing symptoms of a particular illness or disease.

Zoonotic (Adjective): a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans.


Links to Lessons on the Coronavirus & Useful vocabulary (English & French)


Breaking News English Lesson on coronavirus:
The French vocab you might need during a coronavirus outbreak:
What students should learn about the coronavirus:
What is the coronavirus:

Published by Estelle Demontrond-Box

Language Teacher, CIoL-certified Translator, Published Writer, I am from Besançon, France and now live in Sydney, Australia. Enseignante de langues (CAPES d'anglais), Traductrice certifiée (CIoL) et Auteure publiée, originaire de Besançon, je vis désormais à Sydney, Australie.

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