Updates on COVID-19 are coming fast and furious — and it can be hard (not to mention stressful) to keep up.
What’s more, reading news articles and alerts can feel like interpreting a foreign language, from vague phrases and symptoms to confusing medical terms and scientific jargon.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
Combat stress by limiting your news intake to a few reputable sources, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization, and make sure to practice self-care if you are feeling anxious.
And to tackle those terms? Here’s a COVID-19 vocabulary primer to help you navigate these new words and phrases.
No, COVID-19 doesn’t have anything to do with your favorite paperback. What makes COVID-19 “novel” is that it’s a new coronavirus that hasn’t been seen in humans before.
While an epidemic is greater-than-expected increase of a disease in a population, a pandemic is global spread of a disease — wider than that of an epidemic. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, after it spread across at least 114 countries.
Self-quarantine is a public health measure used to contain the spread of a disease. If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should self-quarantine, or stay home at all times, not accept visitors and keep 6 feet away from the people you live with. In the case of COVID-19, 14 days is the recommended amount of time to self-quarantine.
Flattening the curve
By attempting to slow the spread of COVID-19, or “flatten the curve,” public health officials hope to avoid a sudden increase in the number of cases that might overwhelm the healthcare system. Basically, this phrase is another way of saying the slower the number of COVID-19 cases increases, the better healthcare systems will be able to handle them.