10 Things You Think You Know About the Coronavirus But Actually Don’t

Photo by Besjunior from Envato Elements

5. COVID-19 refers to the disease that the virus causes, not the virus itself

The World Health Organization (WHO) noticed that calling the novel virus SARS-CoV-2 might lead to some confusion and anxiety. As Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of WHO, put it in February: “From a risk communications perspective, using the name SARS can have unintended consequences in terms of creating unnecessary fear for some populations, especially in Asia, which was worst affected by the SARS outbreak in 2003.”

For that reason, the World Health Organization opted to refer to it by the name of the disease it results in—COVID-19—rather than by the name of the virus itself.

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