Pandemic? Epidemic? Find out what all these coronavirus-related words mean.

Pandemic? Epidemic? Find out what all these coronavirus-related words mean.

What is a pandemic? How is it different than an epidemic?  All the terms being used in the discussion of the new coronavirus can be confusing.

Here is a glossary of terms from expert sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will help.

Coronavirus: A family of viruses or tiny agents that cause disease; named corona or crown because under a microscope they look like a ring of gases around the sun.

Novel coronavirus: “Novel” refers to the “new” virus in the family that is currently causing concern.

COVID-19: Referring to the same new virus and the year it was detected, 2019.

Outbreak: A sudden rise in a disease in a specific location.

Epidemic: When the disease spreads to a lot of people.

Pandemic: When the disease becomes a more worldwide phenomenon.

Communicable: A disease that is transmitted from person-to-person.

Social distancing: Limiting the spread of the disease by encouraging individuals to stay close to home and avoid places where they would be in close contact with crowds of people, such as concerts, sporting events and church.

Incubation: The period of time it takes between the start of the infection and when symptoms appear.

Quarantine: Confinement of a person because they may have been in contact with someone who has the disease.

Self-quarantine: A person who chooses to confine themselves because they have had contact with someone who has the disease and are choosing to protect others from getting it.

Isolation: The limiting of contact for a person who has been diagnosed and is being treated for the disease.

Morbidity: A measure of how many people have the disease in relation to the population.

Mortality rate: A measure of how many people have died in relation to the population.

Find resources to learn more about the new coronavirus in real time here.

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About the Author

Evonne Woloshyn
Evonne Woloshyn

Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!