ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – COVID-19 is the name of the disease, not the virus, that is attacking people worldwide, including in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
The way to communicate properly about the disease is to have this understanding: “A new virus caused a disease called COVID-19,” based on information from The Poynter Institute, a media education organization.
Other terminology includes …
• “COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. When referring specifically to the virus, the ‘COVID-19 virus’ and ‘the virus that causes COVID-19’ are acceptable (terms),” Poynter stated.
• SARS is the acronym for severe acute respiratory syndrome.
• The term coronavirus is used to define a family of viruses, some of which can infect people and animals. The term, “corona,” is used as a way to describe crownlike spikes on the surfaces of the virus, just as the sun has a corona surrounding the surface.
• The Associated Press defined the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic: “An epidemic is the rapid spreading of disease in a certain population or region; a pandemic is an epidemic that has spread worldwide.” The World Health Organization at first recognized COVID-19 as an epidemic, but the continued spread of the disease prompted the WHO’s change to using pandemic to define the scope of the situation.