COVID-19 & All the Terminologies You Need to Know

By Eashan Rajapakshe


A cluster of disease or infection is a group of related health events that occurred at about the same time in the same region. You may have noticed some new cases identified as “outbreak clusters” of the current coronavirus.

Community spread

Group spreading is transmitting a disease within a certain region, where there is no clear knowledge of how or when anyone has contracted the disease. Although certain cases of coronavirus can be detected for certain visits, people-to-people meetings or certain activities, instances of population spread are less common and more difficult to track.


Actually, coronavirus is not one type of virus; it is a broad family of viruses which also includes SARS and other minor to major respiratory diseases. Coronaviruses, as we have seen with this current outbreak, can spread between anyone such as animals and humans. The word “corona,” which born from a Latin root meaning crown or ring of light, which we could see under a microscope.


COVID-19 is a disease unique to the present outbreak. The acronym, provided by the World Health Organization, stands for “Coronavirus Virus 2019,” means it was identified in the year 2019. The virus is also called SARS-CoV-2.


An epidemic is a condition in which a disease is spreading quickly among so many people, often at a concentration higher than average. Though, it’s on a smaller scale than a pandemic. The global COVID-19 outbreak is considered an epidemic, while governments and medical communities believe it may become a pandemic. Of course, it seems as of now.


Other types of coronavirus are MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. This viral respiratory disease may be mentioned in conjunction with SARS (see below). For all cases, the acronyms themselves apply to the infections while MERS-CoV or SARS-CoV simply refers to the infectious viruses.


It is a new strain that has not been observed in humans before. The novel coronavirus is also considered the virus responsible for the latest outbreak.

N95 respirators

Many people turned to the use of facemasks or respirators to guard against the illness. Facemasks will not make air-droplets to penetrate to the covered area while respirators appear to fit tighter and have an air filtration feature.

N95 respirators have been cleared for use by the general public, although the CDC and other health officials have warned people, except under specific circumstances, against wearing them in their daily lives.


An outbreak is a rate of disease incidence which is higher than average. Also, the terms disease and pandemic describe the severity or existence of an outbreak or series of outbreaks. To put it in another way, think of outbreak as the building block of many other words relevant to coronavirus.


A pandemic is an epidemic occurring across the globe. That is magnitude greater than an outbreak. In other words, an’ outbreak’ is the incidence of illness cases that exceed what is generally expected; an’ epidemic’ is more than a normal number of illness cases; relevant health-related actions or other health-related incidents in a population or region; so generally, a’ pandemic’ is a global epidemic. The last pandemic until now was the 2009 H1N1 epidemic. But on 11th of March 24, 2020 the WHO declared a pandemic to the novel coronavirus.


A virus like COVID-19 has many different ways to contract. Spread from person to person means that the virus has been transmitted due to close contact between people, whether the interaction involves actual physical contact or just a close quarter of a cough or sneeze. This is separate from transmitting a disease through polluted areas, or by animals. It is suspected that this current strain of coronavirus is transmitted mainly through contact between person and person.

Public health emergency

An emergency to public health is an official declaration made by a government agency. In different countries it is called different items, and is implemented by different parties within it. In the US, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services determines a public health emergency (PHE). Such a designation can help the government access the emergency response to specific funds and resources. Similarly, an emergency of international concern for public health (PHEIC) is a bigger global designation that the World Health Organization can determine. The novel coronavirus was named a PHEIC by the WHO in late January 2020.


A further form of coronavirus is SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. You can hear the mention of this viral respiratory disease alongside MERS (see above). For all cases, the acronyms themselves apply to the infections while MERS-CoV or SARS-CoV refers to the infectious viruses. With the 2002 and 2003 SARS epidemic, SARS is often used to contextualize the current coronavirus outbreak. The outbreak has killed over 770 people, with most deaths in China and Hong Kong.


Symptomatic basically means that someone displays signs of a specific disease or illness. That may include items like fever, cough or shortness of breath for COVID-19. A big part of discussion about coronavirus is becoming symptomatic. Health officials agree that when one comes into contact with someone who is symptomatic, the likelihood of catching the virus is greatest. However, questions have been raised about whether the disease can also spread before anyone shows symptoms of it (also known as pre-symptomatic).

Social distancing

A way to avoid the spread of infectious diseases, as the World Health Organization has indicated. “Public distancing” is not an inside stay man. It means having a decent amount of personal space between yourself and someone who is coughing or sneezing— about three feet— It would avoid the inhalation of certain droplets produced by coughing or sneezing, which can carry the virus.