Coronavirus and Other Related Terms You Should Know Now

Reading news about the novel coronavirus, I realized that there are many vocabulary terms that I’m not very familiar with or that I’m confused about. Terms such as “SARS” and “shelter-in-place”, or the difference between a pandemic and epidemic, are terms I didn’t normally hear until now. Are COVID-19 and Coronavirus the same? Are bacterial infection and viral infection “kinda” the same? In this blog, I’m going to help you understand what is a coronavirus and other related terms you should know now.

COVID-19 vs. Coronavirus

What is a Coronavirus and is COVID-19 the same?

Coronavirus refers to a group of viruses known to cause respiratory problems. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) are a type of coronaviruses.

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. It leads to health problems such a pneumonia and organ failure. COVID-19 is the illness. Coronavirus is the virus.

What’s the difference between a ‘virus’ and a ‘novel virus’?

A ‘novel virus’ means that it is a new type of virus previously not known or detected by experts. SARS and MERS are known coronavirus, so they are not ‘novel’. The unknown coronavirus unleashing havoc right now is considered a ‘novel coronavirus’.

Lady wearing a mask to protect herself from coronavirus infection

What is the difference between SARS, MERS, SARS-2?

SARS, MERS, and SARS-2 are all coronaviruses. SARS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and MERS stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. SARS-2 is what the virus that started in Wuhan, China and spread throughout the world. It’s the unofficial name of the novel coronavirus that is infecting thousands of people.

What’s the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic?

An epidemic is when a disease is affecting many people, spreading from one person to another in an area where the disease is not common. A pandemic is when a disease has spread to a large area and has become prevalent throughout the entire country, continent, or the whole world.

bacteria vs a virus

What ‘s the difference between a bacterial infection and a viral infection?

A bacterial infection is caused by a bacteria. Bacterias are one celled organism that can be found in our body and in the environment. Bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotic drugs.

A viral infection is caused by a virus. A virus is smaller than a bacteria and cannot live without a host. Virus attach themselves to another living cell and reproduce itself by using the cell’s genetic materials. Antibiotics used to treat bacterial infection does not work for viral infections. Viral infections require vaccinations to prevent them or inhibit their development.

doctors reviewing results
Doctors reviewing results

What’s the difference between WHO and CDC?

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a United Nations agency while the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or commonly known as CDC is a branch of the United States government. Both give health-related recommendations to the public.

According to the WHO website (, “WHO works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.” The primary role of WHO is to, “direct international health within the United Nations’ system and to lead partners in global health responses.”

The CDC website ( states this: “CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.” CDC is focus on the United States.

Stop the coronavirus
Stop coronavirus

What’s the difference between a lockdown and shelter-in-place?

Shelter-in-place and lockdown are two options that authorities can order its citizens for their protection. Both are orders to stay indoor.

Lockdown is issued in response to situations like an active shooter or other police activities. Shelter-in-place is issued in response to natural or environmental threat like a pandemic.

That’s all folks! Please continue keeping up with the news; and continue to practice safety in your surroundings.

We are in this fight together. Good luck!

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