Health & NutritionUncategorized

Popular Words Used in COVID 2020

// By Nneamaka Nwadei

On January 30 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and issued a set f temporary recommendations to prevent the spread. And so began the year, with hospitals exceeding capacity, economies shutting down and people loving their lives more than prized possessions.

As every profession has a register of words, like a stethoscope to a doctor, and a baking pan to a baker, so has the Novel Coronavirus gotten its collection of words from the repetition on the lips of not a few. These words were used independently before the onslaught of the pandemic, but COVID-19 made them a constant in every corner of society. 

  • Coronavirus:  A large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. According to the WHO COVID-19 was unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. so far, 25.3 million cases worldwide, with 16.7 million recovered, and 844,000 deaths. In Nigeria as at the end of August, there are 53,865 cases, 41,513 recovered, and 1,013 deaths. Lagos has the highest numbers in the nation, with 18,188 cases, 15,228 recovered and 202 deaths.


  • Lockdown: Due to the spread of the coronavirus with rising death tolls and no sign of a cure, bringing all activities to a halt seemed the only way countries could get a hold on the virus. Economies shutdown, movement grounded, flights were stopped, gatherings were banned, and parties were prohibited. The world experienced silence like never before.


  • Curfew: A curfew is an order specifying a time during which certain regulations apply. Curfews were introduced in all states nationwide, to curb the spread of the virus. In areas with the rapid increase of COVID cases, the full lockdown was implemented, while it was a partial lockdown for places with few cases. and closure of interstate borders.


  • Palliative: Palliatives people when countries were shutting down economic activities. Relief material in cash and kind were distributed to citizens to cushion the impact of the lockdown.


  • Quarantine: This is a restriction on the movement of people and goods which is 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. Before airports were shut down, passengers coming into the country from overseas were quarantined from the airport, to be sure they were not risking the lives of others at their destination.


  • Vaccine: Vaccines were rumoured to be found during the thick of the pandemic, raising the hopes of many around the world. Several drugs were alleged to have curing qualities for coronavirus, from HIV treatments to Ebola, and even SARS vaccines. Madagascar also released an elixir to the amazement of the watching world- which was later reported to be merely preventive and nothing more.


  • Social distancing: Social distancing is the confirmed way to protect oneself from the Coronavirus, as it is airborne. Adverts shown on television, broadcast on radio and the internet advocated for social distancing. In a city like Lagos where every weekend is for parties, the decree by the government for people to maintain their social distance- stopping gatherings of all natures, and closing all fun and recreational centres did not go down well with a lot of people.


  • Self- Isolation: Staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people. This includes other people in your household or situations where a person has to mix with others, usually for 14 days.
Photo Credit: IFAC


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  • PPE: Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full bodysuits. Health workers and other officials working during the pandemic were mandated to wear protective equipment to protect them from the virus.


  • Nose masks: Nose masks, also called dust masks are protective gears worn over the nose and mouth to prevent dirt and dust, as well as airborne infections. The surgical masks were popular until fabric masks began to circulate, making them affordable, accessible, and providing a form of employment for people who produced them.


  • Face shield: A face shield protects the wearer’s entire face from hazards such as flying objects and road debris, chemical splashes, or potentially infectious materials. Face shields were not so popular in Nigeria and used to be seen as a statement for high-profile people, due to the cost of a unit. However, it is not uncommon to see a hawker on the highway, selling face shields as they have now become very affordable.


  • Hand Sanitizer: An agent applied to the hands to remove common pathogens, reduce the spread of germs if soap and water aren’t available. The demand for hand sanitizers has also created a business for pharmaceuticals and skincare companies, also presenting competition to the existing producers with high prices.


  • Temperature gun:  originally called ‘infrared thermometers’ or ‘laser thermometers’, temperature guns have become a must-have for every public place are used to check the temperature of an individual. They have an infrared sensor that can quickly measure surface temperature without bodily contact and used to ensure that no one with a compromising temperature is allowed into spaces where other people have gathered, for safety. 


  • Work from home: or WHF- this means the employee is working from their home, without having to resort to a physical office. The pandemic caused many companies to review their processes and adapt to new ways of conducting business. 


  • Pandemic: A disease prevalent within a whole country or the world. COVID-19 took the world by storm, and this excerpt from an article gives a broader definition of all the terms:

An Epidemic is a disease that affects a large number of people within a community, population, or region.

A Pandemic is an epidemic spread over multiple countries or continents.

Endemic is something that belongs to a particular people or country.

An Outbreak is a greater-than-anticipated increase in the number of endemic cases. It can also be a single case in a new area. If not quickly controlled, an outbreak can become an epidemic. 

  • Chloroquine: A drug which treats malaria caused by parasites that enter the body through the bite of a mosquito. In June Nigerian Researchers tried the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to cure COVID-19 in Nigeria. The effect was that the drugs became more expensive, due to the high demand, and began to disappear from chemist and pharmacist shelves in quick succession. 


Although there is no vaccine introduced to the world for COVID-19, 172 economies are now engaged in discussions to participate in COVAX. Covax is a global initiative aimed at working with manufacturers to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, once they are licensed and approved. 

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