By Akin Ojumu

Since ‘Rona made landing early this year, we’ve known nothing but pain and misery. The pandemic has altered our lives in ways we could never have thought possible. In response to the outbreak of the deadly virus, we have evolved in the way we live, work, school, and learn.

Not only has COVID-19 transformed all these areas of our existence, it has also impacted our language. We are learning words we never knew existed before. Likewise, we are experiencing an explosion of new words and phrases that never existed before and have now been added to our lexicon as a testament to this unique time we are in. There is a worldwide pandemic of neologism; a wordemic.

Below, is a compilation of some of these COVID-19 related terminologies and neologisms.

ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING: Learning that is not delivered in real time. Asynchronous learning may involve students watching pre-recorded video lessons, completing assigned tasks, or contributing to online discussion boards.

BLURSDAY: When the days of the week seem to be all a blur and you can't tell which day it is

COHORT: In education, is a group of students who work through a curriculum together to achieve the same academic degree together

CLUSTER: A collection of cases occurring in the same place at the same time.

COMMUNITY SPREAD: Circulation of a disease among people in a certain area with no clear explanation of how they were infected - they did not travel to an affected area and had no close link to another confirmed case.

CONTACT TRACING: The practice of identifying and monitoring individuals who may have had contact with an infectious person as a means of controlling the spread of a communicable disease.

CORONAVIRUS: Any of a family (Coronaviridae) of large single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped spike proteins, infect birds and many mammals including humans, and include the causative agents of MERS, SARS, and COVID-19

CORONIALS: The cohort of babies born in the months following the Coronavirus pandemic. Also referred to as ‘generation coronial’

COVEXIT: The process of gradually relaxing and removing the restrictions on public life imposed by governments in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

COVID: An abbreviated form of Coronavirus

COVID-19: An abbreviated form of Coronavirus 2019

COVIDEO PARTY: Covideo is a combination of the words “Covid” and “video.” It is used to talk about the social videoconferencing events you had during the time of COVID. A covideo party is a social event held using video conferencing.

COVIDIOT: A person who acts like an irresponsible idiot during the Covid-19 pandemic, ignoring common sense, decency, science, and professional advice leading to the further spread of the virus and needless deaths of thousands.

DEMON DNA: This is the idea pushed by Dr Stella Immanuel, a conspiracy theorist, who claims that wet dreams involve sexual intercourse with demons, and such will lead to acquisition of demon DNA

DOOMSCROLLING: The act of endlessly scrolling down news apps, Twitter, and social media and reading bad news

DR FAUCI: The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (NIAID/NIH) and the US leading infectious disease expert advising the US government on COVID-19

DR STELLA: Dr Stella Immanuel is a Houston-based pediatrician and pastor who vigorously promoted hydroxycholoquine as the silver bullet for COVID-19. As a vocal conspiracy theorist, she pushed the idea that demons’ DNA are in vaccines and that COVID-19 vaccines will lead to demonic possession and turn people into non-humans

ESSENTIAL WORKERS: Those who conduct a range of operations and provide services that are typically essential to continue critical infrastructure operations, safety, health and well-being of the population

FACE MASK: A covering (as of polypropylene fiber or cotton fabric) for the mouth and nose that is worn especially to reduce the spread of infectious agents (such as viruses or bacteria)

FATALITY RATE: The proportion of deaths from a certain disease compared to the total number of people diagnosed with the disease for a particular period

FLATTENING THE CURVE: A public health strategy to slow down the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The curve being flattened is the epidemic curve, a visual representation of the number of infected people needing health care over time

5G COVID: This is the idea that COVID-19 symptoms are actually caused by the 5G telecommunication radiation and not a virus

HERD DEVELOPED: A misspeak by Donald Trump, when he meant to say "Herd Immunity"

HERD IMMUNITY: This occurs when enough of a population has developed resistance to a virus – whether through exposure or through a vaccine – to interrupt the spread. Without a vaccine, the strategy involves allowing the disease to spread through young and healthy people while protecting vulnerable groups like the elderly

HERD MENTALITY: Another misspeak by Donald Trump, when he meant to say "Herd Immunity"

HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE: A class of medications that was first used to prevent and treat malaria. Today, it is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, some symptoms of lupus, childhood arthritis (or juvenile idiopathic arthritis) and other autoimmune diseases. It was touted by Donald Trump as the silver bullet cure for COVID-19

INCUBATION PERIOD: The time between when a person is infected by a virus and when he or she notices symptoms of the disease

INCUBUS AND SUCCUBUS: According to Dr Stella, these are demons who appear in dreams as the handsome guy or beautiful girl with whom people engage in sexual intercourse when they have wet dreams

INDEX CASE: The first documented case of an infectious disease or genetically transmitted condition or mutation in a population, region, or family

INDEX PATIENT: An individual affected with the first known case of an infectious disease or genetically transmitted condition or mutation in a population, region, or family

INFODEMIC: This is a blend of "information" and "epidemic" that typically refers to a rapid and far-reaching spread of both accurate and inaccurate information about something, such as a disease. As facts, rumors, and fears mix and disperse, it becomes difficult to learn essential information about an issue. Infodemic was coined in 2003, and has seen renewed usage in the time of COVID-19

ISOLATION: You have or are suspected to have COVID-19 and need to protect others from getting sick by separating yourself from them

LOCKDOWN: A temporary condition imposed by governmental authorities (as during the outbreak of an epidemic disease) in which people are required to stay in their homes and refrain from or limit activities outside the home involving public contact (such as dining out or attending large gatherings)

LOCKDOWN FATIGUE: Lockdown fatigue has been described worldwide as a state of exhaustion caused by the long-term effects of COVID-19 and the changes it has caused to every aspect of your life. It is a state experienced when people have had to come to terms with a virus that has affected every aspect of their life, including their freedom, and which has continued for months, sometimes with no end in sight until a vaccine or treatment is discovered

N95: An N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles

PANDEMIC: An outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area (such as multiple countries or continents) and typically affects a significant proportion of the population

PATIENT ZERO: A person identified as the first to become infected with an illness or disease in an outbreak

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT: Commonly referred to as "PPE", is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards

PHYSICAL DISTANCING: The practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance (such as six feet or more) from other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection

PIVOT: The flexibility to quickly change action/direction

PLANDEMIC: A conspiracy theory that alleges that the Coronavirus pandemic was planned, and that the virus was deliberately released

QUARANTEAM: The people you work or socialize with during quarantine

QUARANTINE: You may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 but do not know if you are sick yet

REMOTE LEARNING: Learning that occurs when classes are taught at a distance and when students and educators are not in a conventional classroom setting. Remote learning takes place in times of extended interruption to in-person learning – for example, as a result of a pandemic or natural disaster. Classes can be synchronous or asynchronous and can be taught online through a Learning Management System (LMS) or by using videoconferencing tools. In some cases, they may be delivered through emails, print materials, broadcast media, or telephone calls.

SARS-COV-2: This is the scientific name of COVID-19. It stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2

SELF-ISOLATING: It's necessary because you have had symptoms, a diagnosis, or your doctor suspects that you have COVID-19, but you do not need to be in the hospital

SELF-QUARANTINE: Separating yourself from others and restricting your environment. It's necessary when you believe you may have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, but you have no symptoms

SOCIAL CONTROL: A conspiracy theory that alleges that the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown is a strategy that governments are using to control people

SOCIAL DISTANCING: The practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance (such as six feet or more) from other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection

SPENDEMIC: The widespread tendency to overspend during the COVID-19 lockdown

SUPER SPREADER EVENT: Transmitting a communicable disease to an unusually large number of uninfected individuals gathered at a largely attended event

SUPPORT BUBBLE: A support network which links 2 households. The aim is to help people who have been cutoff from friends and family

SYNCHRONOUS LEARNING: Learning that happens in real time. Synchronous learning involves using text, video, or voice communication in a way that enables educators and other members of the school- or board-based team to instruct and connect with students in real time. Synchronous learning supports the well-being and academic achievement of all students, including students with special education needs, by providing educators and students with an interactive and engaging way to learn. It helps teachers provide immediate feedback to students and enables students to interact with one another

TELEWORK: Working remotely

THE ‘RONA: A shortened form of Coronavirus

TRANSMISIBILITY: The quality of a disease or trait being able to be passed on from one person or organism to another

VACCINE HESITANCY: Refers to delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccine services

VIRTUAL LEARNING: This is remote learning using a web-based platform for the digital aspects of courses of study, usually within educational institutions

VIRTUAL LUNCH: Hanging out for lunch with family, friends, and co-workers virtually

WFH: An acronym for working from home

WORDEMIC: An epidemic of words. It refers of the explosion of new words formed since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic

ZOOM: A videoconferencing platform

ZOOMBOMBING: When a person enters a zoom meeting to which they are not invited

ZOOMING: Holding a virtual meeting using a videoconferencing platform such as Zoom

ZUMPED: When you break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend in a videochat


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