What Does COVID-19 Stand For?COVID-19 is the name given by the World Health Organization (WHO)
on February 11, 2020 for the disease caused by the novel corona virus
SARS-CoV-2. It started in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and has since
spread worldwide. COVID-19 is an acronym that stands for corona virus
disease of 2019.
What does COVID-19 stand for in its full form?COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the SARS-CoV2 virus.
Viruses and the diseases they cause have different names. For example,
AIDS is the disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV.
As mentioned above, COVID-19 is an acronym. In its full form, COVID-19
stands for corona virus disease of 2019.
Who named COVID-19?The corona virus disease of 2019 was given the abbreviated name of
COVID-19 by the WHO in a press release on February 11, 2020.
When was the corona virus given the “COVID-19” name?
On December 31, 2019, a strange new pneumonia of unknown cause was
reported to the Chinese WHO Country Office. A cluster of these cases
originally appeared in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei Province of China.
These infections were found to be caused by a new corona virus which
was given the name “2019 novel corona virus” (2019-nCoV).
It was later renamed “severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2,”
or SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses on
February 11, 2020. It was named SARS-CoV-2 because the virus is a
genetic cousin of the corona virus which caused the SARS outbreak in
The unofficial name for the virus is “the COVID-19 virus.”
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Why was the corona virus renamed to COVID-19?
The WHO press release of February 11 explained why a new name was
needed for this disease: “to enable discussion on disease prevention,
spread, transmissibility, severity, and treatment.”
Diseases are officially named by WHO in the International
Classification of Diseases (ICD). For COVID-19, the name was decided
based on agreed guidelines between the WHO, the World Organization for
Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations. The name, and its abbreviation, was chosen because it didn’t
refer to a specific geographic location, a specific animal, or a
specific group of people. It also had to be easy to pronounce and
related to the disease.
What is a corona virus?Corona viruses are common human and animal viruses. They were first
discovered in domestic poultry in the 1930s. In animals, corona viruses
cause a range of respiratory, gastrointestinal, liver, and neurologic
Only seven corona viruses are known to cause disease in humans:
Four human corona viruses cause symptoms of the “common cold.” These
have catchy names which you’ll be forgiven for forgetting: 229E, OC43,
NL63, and HUK1.
Three human corona viruses cause much more serious lung infections,
also called pneumonia: SARS-CoV in 2002 (severe acute respiratory syndrome or “SARS”),
MERS-CoV in 2012 (Middle East respiratory syndrome or “MERS”),
and SARS-CoV2 (the current pandemic know as COVID-19).
You can learn more about the definition of corona virus here.
What is a novel coronavirus?A “novel” corona virus means that it is a new corona virus that has
not been previously identified in humans. This means it is different
from corona viruses that cause the common cold, and those that caused
SARS in 2002 and MERES in 2012.
Like, SARS and MERES, the novel corona virus is a zoophytic disease. The
definition of a zoophytic disease is one that begins in animals and is
transmitted from animals to people.