Why is the Coronavirus called COVID-19?

Published Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
Why is the Coronavirus called COVID-19?

The WHO announced that the Coronavirus has an official name now. It's pretty easy to remember too. It's called, COVID-19. But, why the formal name?

Well to explain why, we have to go back to the beginning. It turns out that ever since the Coronavirus broke out in China, xenophobic and racist attitudes were on the rise too:

We had the same problem with the H1N1, also known Swine Flu. The WHO had to step in with an alternate name to dispel the connection between pigs, pork, the food industry and the disease (it was discovered that pork prepared properly would prevent infection by H1N1).

So the first reason for the new name is to dispel and qualm any racist, xenophobic and/or misinformation. The second reason, is very simple. It's for tracking future outbreaks or mutations of the virus.

COVID-19 follows a naming convention the WHO employs and it's simple to see the framework for tracking future outbreaks:

  • CO stands for Corona (this type of virus has "crown-like structures" on its surface)
  • VI stands for virus
  • D represents Disease
  • 19 is the year of the outbreak for this specific viral outbreak (e.g. 2019)
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