Inside: 10 COVID-19 Buzzwords And Definitions You Need To Know.

Well, folks, we’re week I don’t even know anymore, into this COVID-19 pandemic and often I feel as though there is an entirely new language being spoken. COVID-19 buzzwords and definitions that have been become part of our every day vernacular.

I spend most afternoons at around noon watching updates from the Governor of NY (Andrew Cuomo) and we’ve gone through a slew of different terminology since this all began.

At the beginning of this crisis, much was said about the need for hospital beds and our favorite word in my house ventilators.  Governor Cuomo liked to use the word ventilator as many times as possible in a sentence. My wife and I thought there should be a drinking game where you take a shot each time he says ventilator. You’d be drunk in about 10 minutes if you followed these rules.

Believe it or not, you may find some of these words in a dictionary near you.

10 COVID-19 Buzzwords And Definitions You Need To Know


All we’ve been hearing the last several months is COVID-19 this, COVID-19 that, but do you know what COVID-19 stands for? COVID-19 refers to the novel coronavirus disease 2019. 2019 is the year it was detected. COVID-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2).

Contrary to popular belief coronavirus is nothing new even though memes are circulating to tell you differently.



Coronaviruses have been around for years, decades even. SARS and MERS are two examples of coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new version of coronavirus which is why it is referred to as novel.



Another on the list of COVID-19 buzzwords is asymptomatic. To be asymptomatic means you are not presenting symptoms of the disease. In the case of COVID-19, this means symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, dry cough, sore throat, and more.

To be tested for the disease, you need to exhibit symptoms. Most physicians or clinics will deny you a test without symptoms and many times the tests won’t be accurate if you aren’t showing symptoms.



Flatten the curve

Flatten the curve has been one of the COVID-19 buzzwords we’ve been hearing a lot of in New York State. Flatten the curve is an attempt to have a more gradual uptick of cases, rather than a fast steep rise. Flattening the curve is a way to avoid the overburdening of the health care system. If cases arise too quickly there is stress put upon the healthcare system for staff, hospital beds, and life-saving equipment like ventilators. Flattening the curve does not decrease the projected number of cases, but instead “spreads them out”.

Can We Discuss Flatten-the-Curve in COVID19? My Eight Assertions


Herd immunity

Herd immunity is becoming a popular COVID-19 buzzword of late.

Herd immunity happens when enough people are immune to an infectious disease, making the further spread of the virus unlikely.

Herd immunity can occur from people receiving vaccinations or from enough people getting sick from the disease that they have developed an immunity.

Herd Immunity


Social distancing

This is by far my favorite of the COVID-19 buzzwords, social distancing. Social distancing is a conscious effort to remain physically apart to stop the spread of the virus. Social distancing includes efforts like working from home or staying at least 6 feet apart from other human beings.

Many stores and supermarkets have implemented social distancing including signs on the floor or lines drawn to keep people separated. Many locations also limit the number of shoppers in the store at one time.

The only problem I have with social distancing is limiting the number of people in the store. Once you’re inside everyone walks all over the place anyway. Why bother if people are going to reach in front of you at the supermarket anyway or stand right on top of you.

Social Distancing


Community spread

Community spread is defined as the spread of a contagious disease in a geographic area in which there is no knowledge of how someone contracted the disease. In other words, no known contact can be traced to other infected individuals.

In other words, there is no knowing who patient zero is.

patient zero


Shelter in place

A shelter in place warning is typically an order given by the local government. During a shelter-in-place residents are to remain at home and only leave for essential reasons such as essential jobs, to pick up prescriptions and food.


Coffee Prepping GIF by Real Food RN



People who are immunosuppression experience a reduction in the effectiveness of their immune system. Immunosuppressed people are at greater risk for hospitalization and severe sickness from COVID-19.

Immunosuppressed conditions include Lupus, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, and more.



Contact Tracing

Contact tracing has been the biggest COVID-19 buzzword that I’ve been hearing. Contact tracing is what some are calling our next step in this battle against COVID-19. Contact tracing involves identifying and monitoring people who may have come into contact with an infectious person. Seems easy right? I’m not 100% sure this is even a feasible course of action but what do I know.

For example, I go food shopping at my local Shop Rite and afterward stop into Home Depot to pick up some flowers. If by some chance in the three days following my shopping excursion I become symptomatic the first thing that happens is I quarantine myself.

Then this “army” of contact tracers (in the state of NY there will be 30 per every 100,000 people) would have to find everyone who was shopping at Home Depot the day and time I was there as well as everyone at Shop Rite I may have come in contact with. And then everyone they came in contact with and so on and so on.

The goal is to curb the spread of the disease.

contact tracing




PPE was a COVID-19 buzzword we heard often in my home state because we always seemed to be running low. PPE refers to personal protective equipment or specialized clothing and equipment the front line healthcare workers use used to safeguard against such things as infectious diseases through physical contact or airborne particles.

PPE is designed to protect the nose, mouth, eyes, hands, and feet. N95 masks were a hard item to find as well as disposable gloves.



I hope you found this list of 10 COVID-19 buzzwords helpful. Are there any I might have missed? Comment below and I’ll add any extras that might be important.






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