One word I learnt when Covid-19 attacked… Covid-19 itself is a new word in the world’s vocabulary. It has brought with it words and terms we had not known…
LOCK DOWN This is a compound word, consisting of two equally negative sounding words, “Lock” and “Down”. Prior to current times, using a word like this would need an explanatory note. No longer needed now. A lockdown is supposed to be almost like a curfew, with the exception that you can go to the local store to buy “essential” supplies.
COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION Avery powerful expression, and now carries a horrific image of the rapid spread of a dangerous disease The real fear is that the virus might spread within days to a large part of the population without having to travel long distances.
SELF-QUARANTINE We are not sure how this expression came about, but all of a sudden, everyone knows what this means. By the addition of the prefix, it has assumed a dignified and respectable image. Self-quarantining is what a respectable responsible citizen would do, in order to protect his fellow citizens from the danger of infection.
Here is an excerpt: “Did you know that the Persian Scholar of medicine, Ibn Sina (980 – 1037 CE) suspected that some diseases were spread by microorganisms? To prevent human-to-human contamination, he came up with the method of isolating people for 40 days. He called this method al-Arba’eeniya (the forty). Traders from Venice heard of this successful method and took this knowledge back to contemporary Italy. They called it “quarantena” (the forty in Italian). This is where the word “quarantine” comes from. The origin of the methods currently being used in much of the world to fight pandemics have their origins in the Islamic world.
PANDEMIC Those were the days when our own vocabulary ended at the word “Epidemic”, especially when related to the flu, cholera or small pox. For those of you wondering about the origin of the word pandemic, it comes from Ancient Greek pándēmos, ‘of or belonging to all the people, public’, which in turn comes from the prefix panmeaning ‘all, every’ and dêmos, meaning ‘the common people, free citizens, sovereign people.’