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What Does COVID-19 Stand For? Meaning of the Coronavirus Name

Just a few months ago we had barely heard of coronaviruses – and now COVID-19 is the only topic of conversation.

But what does it stand for?

COVID-19 stands for Corona Virus Disease 2019.

The name was chosen by the World Health Organisation (WHO), with input from OIE Animal Health and FAO.


In a statement, director general of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, explained: “We had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease.

“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”

Before it was officially named COVID-19, scientists were calling the coronavirus ‘2019-nCoV’. This covers the year it was discovered, and the fact that it was a novel coronavirus.

Coronaviruses are actually a family of viruses that infect animals. There are seven that infect humans – including COVID-19, SARS and MERS.

Many coronaviruses are relatively harmless, and only cause cold or mild flu symptoms.

The new coronavirus is relatively serious, with around 20 percent of cases classed as severe or critical. The death rate is between 0.7% and 3.4% depending on the location and the access to medical care.

Most people who get coronavirus will experience only mild symptoms and recover quickly.


Written by How Africa

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