A New Glossary in Time of Pandemic

Have you been scratching your head at all the new vocabulary being tossed around during the current pandemic? For example, what is “herd immunity”? At Clifton Foot & Ankle Center, we’re aware that we sometimes toss out podiatric medical terms that we need to explain to our patients. Likewise, we hope to take the mystery out of some new language in all the news about the novel coronavirus. Here’s a glossary of some interesting – and some amusing – terms we’ve come across:

  • Contact tracing: a method of preventing a resurgence of COVID-19 once social and economic restrictions are lifted. Public health workers will interview infected individuals, find out who they’ve been in contact with, contact those people to tell them they may have been exposed, and advise them to self-isolate.
  • Coronavirus: Corona-type viruses have existed for some time, but a new or “novel” coronavirus has caused the current pandemic. Its technical name is SARS-CoV-2
  • COVID-19: the name of the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. It stands for “coronavirus disease 2019.”
  • Covidiot: a derogatory term referring to a person who defies local or federal guidelines by congregating in large groups or not wearing a mask in the grocery store.
  • Flatten the curve: to implement measures such as social distancing to prevent a spike in illness that will overwhelm hospitals.
  • Herd immunity: when a large majority of a population becomes immune to catching a disease, thereby making the disease less threatening to everyone.
  • Pandemic: when abnormal levels of a disease move beyond a local area (epidemic) and spread throughout many parts of the world.
  • Quarantini: a humorous reference to an alcoholic drink made while quarantined at home.
  • Social distancing: the actions taken by society as a whole to stop the spread of disease, including limiting face-to-face contact and staying at least six feet apart.
  • Zoom: a virtual videoconferencing platform where people meet for business or social purposes.
  • Zoom fatigue: a phenomenon that causes people who’ve spent too much time in online Zoom meetings to grow weary of them.

What terms would you add to our COVID-themed glossary?

Board-certified podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm and all of our staff continue to hope that you’re staying safe and well. If you need us to treat an urgent foot or ankle problem, we’re here for you in Fairfax County, Virginia. Call our Centreville office at (703) 996-3000 or contact us online.

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