Language in the time of Corona:


We all know about the impending disaster hovering upon the whole earth called the novel Corona Virus. The Corona map of the world is turning bloodier day by day. Thanks to the newspapers and news channels and the reporters who are working relentlessly to keep us informed, we know the symptoms of the disease. We know what to do if we witness any of the symptoms in our body or any person near us.

However, this hitherto unknown virus has been thrusting a whole set of new vocabulary into our society. Somehow these medical or scientific words have made their way into our daily discourse. We are coming across these words every day either in print media or in visual or just in a conversation with your neighbour. The fact is, many of us casually use the terms without knowing their actual meaning. In this blog, we are going to discuss eight terms related to this uprising emergency. I hope this would help you make more sense of this global epidemic.

Incubation period:

This is one of the most heard of the words since we are discussing this Coronavirus. Incubation period marks the period between when a person gets infected with some virus (any pathogen), and when that person shows any symptom of the disease. For the Coronavirus, the incubation period is fourteen days or two complete weeks. If Coronavirus has infected anyone today, he or she would not show the slightest symptom until fourteen days are over. During this time, it is impossible to identify if anyone has any infection. Therefore, this is a crucial time for any disease. In case of a viral infection, if a person is suspected to have been exposed to the infection; he or she should be kept alone. It is for the safety of other people around him.


Quarantine is a state or place or period of isolation, where or when people who have come from a different country or been exposed to viral infection are kept. The length of quarantine depends on the incubation period of the virus. Usually, the quarantine period is longer than the incubation period. This is nothing but a safety measure. For a recent outbreak of Coronavirus, the quarantine period is more or less fourteen days. If a person is suspected to have been exposed to this virus but does not show any visible symptoms of the disease, he or she must be quarantined for a particular time. There are quarantine centres made by the government. Else, you can home-quarantine yourself if you suspect any infection.

Public Health Order:

Public health orders are a set of directives that can be legally enforced on individuals. With the power of these directives, the state or nation can place several restrictions on the activities of the citizen in the name of maintaining public health. It can be enforced by the state (the chief minister or alike) or the central (the prime minister, president or alike). Every individual is bound to abide by the directives. These orders can limit the activities of every individual or a particular group for a greater good. The orders can include restricting individuals’ movement, monitoring individuals’ movement and other rules like these.


We know this virus, which is responsible for the recent pandemic, by its homely name ‘the Corona Virus’. But, the original scientific name for the virus is SARS-CoV-2. The full form of the name is ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2’. This virus had an earlier outbreak in 2019. At that time, it was known as 2019-nCoV. There are other variations of this type of virus, which cause us some 20% to 25% of the common flues we have been experiencing for decades. Another popular term is COVID-19, which is a short term name for the Coronavirus disease of 2019.


In case of any contagious disease, this is an important strategy undertaken by officials. It aims for the good of public health. A containment action can be restricting the travel of individuals, monitoring movement of individuals, identifying an infected person, or tracking down every person which whom the affected person has spent time (had physical contact in recent times), or asking a group of unaffected person to stay at home.

Flattening the curve:

This is a phrase that you may have come across often in news show discussion on the Corona outbreak. Imagine a hump-shaped mathematical graph that showcases the statistics of new infections. When a disease spreads quickly, the curve is steep, as the number of newly infected cases would be higher. But when the disease takes time to spread, the cases of new infections would be lower, and the hump will be wider and shorter. This is called a flat curve. In the case of a Coronavirus emergency, people can help to flatten the curve by staying at home and avoiding public gathering.

Community spread:

Well, this is kind of an out-of-hand situation. When a disease is spread among the majority of a community, it is considered as a community spread. In this situation, the people living in a region are affected by the virus and do not know where they have got it and when. It is far more dangerous than a situation where one or two individuals are affected.

Social distancing:

Measures have been taken to avoid any public gathering in any country. Citizens are requested to avoid crowded areas. Office-workers have asked to create ‘work from home’ decorum and maintain communication with the office via the internet and telephone. Schools, colleges and universities are suspended. Many cities are thinking about the total lockdown. This strategy of keeping people away from people is called social distancing.

This is definitely a time of peril. Our mother earth is undergoing a hard time. It is our duty to do whatever little we can to get over with this horrible time. The first thing to do is to make ourselves aware. I hope the new terms are now not-so-new for you and you can understand their full significance.

So, hope for the best! Tomorrow will be a new world!