‘Covid-19’ is one of the newly coined words that have come into fashion in every nook and cranny of the world. For some months, there hasn’t been a day when this word has not popped up when watching TV or reading news or reports on health or having general conversations.
Let’s take a look at how such words are coined and further gain currency in our communications, thus becoming a part of a dictionary for reference. The acronym Covid-19 is made of corona+ virus+ disease + 2019. The derivative is written in both ways – all capital or small letters with its entry in almost all leading online dictionaries including the likes of Merriam Webster, Oxford, Collins, Cambridge.
Covid-19 is a sort of illness caused by a virus that looks like a corona i.e. a crown. Hence, the image of this tiny virus is represented by the shape of a crown. The coronavirus is a respiratory illness characterized by fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It affects the victim’s lungs to the extent of death. However, the mortality rate is low and the recovery rate is encouragingly higher. On the contrary, patients with comorbidity (multiple diseases and conditions) are at a higher risk.
Social distancing is yet another coinage doing the rounds. Since the novel coronavirus has no successful cure to date, this preventive step is very effective. Social distancing is however synonymous with physical distancing. Hence, they are interchangeably used. Nevertheless, social distancing is for keeping oneself away from all social gatherings and contacts in person whereas physical distancing is to avoid physical contact with any individual.
Covid-19 is not only infectious but also highly contagious. It spreads quickly from human to human through droplets of sneezing, spitting, and such. Thus, one infects another in series. Nobody is immunized enough to remain unaffected by this deadly microorganism. The proverb, ‘prevention is better than cure‘ goes well with the current scenario of contagion.
‘No handshake for health sake’ is desirable and advisable given the Covid-19 pandemic. The term ‘health sake‘ was coined by Dr Birbal Jha, who had launched the ‘Namaste March‘ from New Delhi early this year intending to disseminate the message of how the Indian way of greeting is effective and can help in preventing the spread of the pandemic which allegedly originated from Wuhan, China. Dr Birbal Jha is a noted author and Managing Director of Lingua Multiservices Pvt Ltd which has a popular trademark brand, the ‘British Lingua’. He is credited with having created a revolution in English training with the slogan ‘English for all’ in India.
However, how it originated is a moot point and a subject of research. There are two theories. First that it is a biological weapon created in the testing lab of China as claimed by America. The second is that it germinated from the bat soup in China as shown in the movie Contagion. Let’s not jump to conclusions until research on the subject is made public. The role of the World Health Organization is said to be dubious in this context. Such a situation poses many questions to WHO.
The Namaste culture is now global with representatives of different countries being seen putting their palms together and placing them in front of their hearts instead of extending their hands to shake with others. Time has drawn the attention of people across the world towards the efficacy of Indian greetings, lifestyle, and values in the wake of the contamination.
“Greeting with namaste is so easy.”, says Donald Trump, President of the U.S.A. Shake off the Western greetings like hugging or kissing at least for now. Life is better than gold.
Mind you, social distancing should not be misconstrued as a rejection of social interactions between individuals or different social groups. Rather, it is a tool to keep the virus at bay. God forbid! Mental distancing would be a catastrophe. We need to stay home and well connected with our loved ones. Wear masks and maintain social distancing and do your part in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
An outbreak is a sudden rise in the incidence of a disease (dis+ ease) whereas an epidemic is an outbreak of infection that spreads quickly in a particular area. An epidemic turns into a pandemic when it affects masses all over the world. The prefix ‘pan’ means all, such as pan India.
So who is a super spreader?
A patient who infects many others in their chain of contacts as witnessed in the state of Punjab is a super spreader. Also, a case in point is a particular religious congregation that was held in Delhi in early March 2020. A contagious disease takes the shape of a community spread once it outbursts in a particular neighbourhood.
For both preventive and remedial approaches, contact tracing is required to put the contacts of those infected in quarantine or isolation for some time, preferably at least 14 days. There is a semantic difference in these two words- quarantine applies to those who have a history of travel whereas isolation is applicable for those who merely came into contact with the infected person. However, functionality hardly differs.
Many people choose self-isolation once contact tracing is done and confirmed. Self-quarantine is a good preventive step to contain the spread of contagion. However, restricting people to stay home and disallowing them access to many facilities and movement from their house is a lockdown which the country was placed under in the interest of the masses.
Maintaining social distancing is the only way to flatten the curve of rising cases of the novel Covid-19 all across the world. To flatten the curve is to slow down the spiking graph of the number of people coming down with the unprecedented malady that has wreaked havoc.
If you do not follow government advisories, official announcements, warnings, and orders during the period of the current pandemic, you will be called a ‘covidiot’. The word is self-explanatory as it is a combination of the two words, Covid-19 + idiot. Moreover, you will be prosecuted with severe punishment.
A PPE Kit (Personal Protective Equipment) includes a surgical face mask, eyewear, gloves, head-cover, shoe-cover, and coverall which can be either disposable or autoclavable (a word originally limited to the medical fraternity prior to the Covid-19). Such medical jargon is now in common parlance. An N95 Mask is a respiratory protective cover designed to achieve a very close facial fit and efficient filtration of airborne particle. However, it is in short supply everywhere now.
A containment zone is an area identified as a Covid-19 hotspot, which is classified as a red zone. Orange and green zones are the two other specific areas which have no fresh cases or no cases at all respectively.
Using a sanitizer (liquid or gel to prevent infection) has become a part of life. In most social settings, frequent handwashing with soap and water is encouraged as a preventive measure. Sneezing, spitting, burping, or farting is a natural bodily discharge. However, each of them has a protocol to strictly follow. Take care! Spitting in public places is a punishable offense.
That is how words are coined, gain currency with the frequency of their use.