COVID-19 Vocabulary That You Must Know

covid19 vocabulary

COVID-19 is a word that everyone knows across the globe and is frightened with. The spread of the pandemic has reached every corner of the world and countries are battling to save their citizens and economy at the same time. The United State of America, Italy, Russia, France are some of the countries facing the hardest hit, and even with their top most medical facilities they are feeling helpless, as no vaccine has been discovered yet. However, WHO says that there are many ongoing clinical trials that are evaluating potential treatments. 

We are locked in our homes to meet the guidelines sketched by our government, which includes staying at home, maintaining social distance, sanitizing hands, washing hands frequently with soap and water, and avoid touching our face (nose, eyes and mouth).

We all keep ourselves updated on the spread of coronavirus, even Government of India has launched Arogya Setu app, that helps you know if some near is infected. I am using this app and I hope you also have it on your phone.

This post talks about terms related to coronavirus (COVID-19). There ate many who still get confuse with the coronavirus-related terms. So here we have compiled most of them for you that will help you understand the meaning of the words that are being used frequently in connection to COVID-19.

What is COVID-19?

As per WHO, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease which is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

The coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019. And the spread that started from there has become a pandemic soon.


A pandemic is a term used for spread of a disease over wide geographic area, i.e. over multi continents or countries, affecting a substantial number of people.


An epidemic is spread of a disease among large number of people within a community, region or population within a short period of time.


An outbreak is a sudden increase in the number of people affected by a disease at the same time. The spread is more than expected, then it is called outbreak.

All the three terms are related to each other and are often misused, so you must know that based on increasing spread of a disease, an outbreak may become an epidemic, which may become a pandemic.

Social Distance

Social distancing in context of coronavirus means avoiding close contact with others. As per WHO, a distance of 1 meter should be maintained between two people (especially those who cough or sneeze). Physical distancing isn’t a new concept, it was in use since ancient times, based on the religious, cast or ethnicity difference. But, in presence scenario it is to be maintained to avoid transmission of infection and put a control on coronavirus outbreak.

Community Spread

Community spread is spread of a contagious disease within a community, in a particular geographic location, to a person who has not been in contact with any infected person or haven’t traveled to a location where there are documented cases of the disease.

Almost every country has took the decision of lockdown to stop the community spread, because as long as people will stay at home, there are less chances of spread of the disease.

Contact Tracing

It means identifying the people who have come in contact of an infected person, and then monitoring them to put a control on further spread of the disease.


Lockdown means a situation in which people are restricted to enter or leave an area because of an emergency. At the moment people are asked to stay at their home and are not to allowed to move freely, in order to control the spread of the pandemic.

Isolation, Self-Isolation & Quarantine

In general, isolation means separating something form a group of things. In medical context, as per CDC, it means complete separation of people infected by coronavirus from those who aren’t infected to prevent the spread of the disease. It could be voluntary or compelled by authorities.

If is is undertaken voluntarily, it is called self-isolation. If it is compelled by authorities or local public healthcare and is under their monitoring to stop the spread, it is called quarantine.

Red Zones or HotSpots 

Red zones or hotspots are the areas withing a state where sizeable number of coronavirus cases are detected. The government has put strict restrictions on these places in order to control the number of people getting infected, as these areas have greater chances to spread it to other areas if restrictions aren’t put at place.

Orange Zones

Orange zones are the hotspots that haven’t reported any new case of COVID-19 in the next 14 days.

Green Zones

Green zones are the areas that have no active COVID-19 case. Or the areas where all the COVID-19 patients are treated and sent home, and since than no new case has been reported. In India, Goa is a state which is completely Coronavirus free at the moment.

Wrapping Up

It is important that what we hear or read, we must understand also. And at present we hear only about coronavirus, we all keep an eye on the number of cases everyday, in our country as well as global count. This COVID19 vocabulary list will help you know the meaning of terms that you get confuse with. Let us know if this is helpful. If you want us to add more terms drop them in the comments below, we will update the list.

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