• Gazette 2.0

Where did COVID-19 derive its name from?


By Lisa Mullen


Name a word you wish you never had to hear again. Well in 2020, that top word might just be the coronavirus or COVID-19. Uttered non-stop on TV and in our conversations, it is enough to make you want to cover your ears and speak nonsensical words so you don’t have to hear it yet again.


But really, where did the name coronavirus come from? It certainly wasn’t named after the Corona beer brand. Nor was it named after the person who discovered it.


COVID-19 comes from a group of viruses known as coronaviruses and includes SARS, MERS, the common cold as well as pneumonia. The word coronavirus is derived from the Latin word corona which means ‘crown’ or ‘wreath’.


Back in 1968, scientists June Almeida and David Tyrrell named the virus they were studying the coronavirus because the structure of the virus resembled a crown due to the sugary-proteins that spike outward. Each coronavirus particle has up to 74 surface spikes that work by entering healthy cells in the body where the virus then attaches its spiky proteins to receptors in the cell.


They then begin to quickly replicate themselves, killing healthy cells as they multiply.


This newest strain of the coronavirus started in Wuhan, China, and was originally called the novel coronavirus. By February 2020, the World Health Organization began calling it COVID-19. The ‘Co’ stands for corona, ‘Vi’ stands for virus and the ‘D’ stands for disease. The 19 is for the year it first appeared which was 2019 in China.


But life continues and with the holiday season upon us, we are left to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic while still trying to do our normal holiday traditions including Christmas shopping and gathering with family and friends for holiday dinners. Here are some recommendations to help you and your family deal with the added stress from both the holidays and COVID-19:


  • Control your media exposure as the constant bombardment about the pandemic and the replaying of the worst stories over and over can cause a great deal of stress over things that you can’t control.

  • Make sure you get all the facts before believing everything you hear about COVID-19 as there is a lot of misinformation out there. You can begin by checking out the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website to keep current on the virus.

  • Make time to spend with family and friends with COVID-friendly activities such as video skyping and sharing holiday photos and recipes.

  • And remember, use common sense. You can significantly reduce the risk to your family by making sure everyone wears a mask, washes their hands and keeps a six-foot distance from others, especially watching out for those with high-risk factors such as diabetes or heart disease.


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