Coronavirus Medical Terminology

By Nic 20 Mar, 2020 0 Comments

Covid-19 Medical Terms 


Well, you can’t get much more current and relevant for a blog topic than this!! Here’s some medical terms you’re likely to have heard over the past few weeks with explanations to help to try to make sense of it all! There’s a lot of medical terminology being used in the media, some of us may be very familiar with it while others may have heard of terms but still be unsure of their meanings. It’s interesting to see that some of these terms feature on our Level 2 and 3 AMSPAR/City and Guilds Medical Terminology courses so our past students should have a head start!


What’s the difference between Coronavirus and COVID-19?


The Coronavirus — Coronaviruses are a family of viruses common both in people and animals. Sometimes, the viruses can transfer from animals to people, which scientists believe happened in the case of the coronavirus spreading now. It is often called the “new” or “novel” coronavirus, because it hasn’t been widespread before in humans. The technical term is SARS-CoV-2, not to be confused with SARS-CoV, the virus that contributed to a global outbreak in 2003. The word corona means crown. The scientists who in 1968 came up with the term coronavirus thought that, under a microscope, the virus they were looking at resembled a solar corona: the bright crown-like ring of gasses surrounding the sun that is visible during a solar eclipse. 


COVID-19 — The disease caused by the new coronavirus. COVID-19 is marked by symptoms that can include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. It stands for COrona VIrus Disease 2019.


Epidemic — An outbreak of disease in a community at a particular time.


Pandemic — An epidemic that spreads worldwide, often because the disease is new and there is little to no immunity.


Incubation period — The amount of time between exposure to a virus and the first showing of symptoms. The incubation period of the new coronavirus is two to 14 days.


Fatality rate — The share of those infected who die. Scientists and public health officials have estimated the new coronavirus has a fatality rate of about 1%, though rates are higher in places where large numbers of patients have overwhelmed health care systems. The actual rate isn’t yet known, as asymptomatic patients typically don’t seek treatment and therefore aren’t counted as survivors while calculating fatalities.

Asymptomatic — Used to describe someone who is not showing symptoms of COVID-19. Scientists believe the new coronavirus can and does spread through asymptomatic people.

Outbreak — A sudden start, in this case, of a disease.


Epidemiologist — A scientist who studies diseases within certain populations and works to understand how, why, and where they spread.


High-risk — Someone who is at high risk of getting the coronavirus or of becoming gravely ill if they contracted it is generally determined by age and/ or underlying health risks, including people whose immune systems are compromised.


Ventilator — A machine that blows oxygenated air into a person’s lungs because they unable to breathe sufficiently on their own. Some have questioned whether hospitals are equipped with enough ventilators to handle a surge of patients whose respiratory systems are failing as a result of the virus.

Vaccine — A substance used to provide immunity to a disease. Experts say it could be more than a year before a vaccine for the new coronavirus is ready for distribution. However, new advances are being mentioned daily in the media. 

Clinical trial — Research studies performed using people. Clinical trials happen during the research and development phase of new drugs and vaccines.



Flattening the curve — This concept refers to shortening and lengthening the curve, or the number of cases of a disease present represented on a graph. The idea is that lengthening the curve through social distancing can keep the number of cases at any one time low enough for the health-care system to manage.


Social distancing means avoiding unnecessary contact with other people.

It means spending less time in public places, where a lot of people are around.

Everyone is now advised to follow self-distancing measures, especially the over-70s, pregnant women and adults normally eligible for a flu jab.


How to self-distance

§  Work from home whenever possible

§  Avoid all unnecessary travel

§  Stay away from pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues

§  Avoid gatherings with friends and families wherever possible


What is self-isolation?


Self-isolating means staying at home and not leaving it, other than for exercise. Don't go to work, school or public areas during this time.

If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials. If you are unable to get supplies delivered, you should do what you can to limit social contact when you do leave the house.

Who should self-isolate?

Everyone who shows coronavirus symptoms - a fever of above 37.8C, a persistent cough or breathing problem - and everyone who lives in the same house or flat as someone with symptoms.

§  If you live alone, you must stay at home for seven days from the day symptoms start

§  If you or someone you live with has symptoms, then the entire household needs to isolate for 14 days from the day they start

§  Anyone in the household who starts displaying new symptoms during the 14-day period will need to stay at home for seven more days, regardless of how long they have already been isolated


 What can we offer at Mediterm Training? 

If you have extra time on your hands over the next few months and would like to come out of this uncertain time with a qualification to add to your CV then you may want to study with us via our ONLINE portal to obtain your AMSPAR qualification! Please get in touch and we can set you up with plenty of revision material to get stuck in to! Contact:


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