Hello! As you can see, I’m all prepared for the Coronavirus! Well, to be honest, I’m not really worried about it. Social Media and the news are making the virus situation look worse than it is, and the virus itself isn’t even that dangerous!
Everywhere you look, you can see people talking about outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics, but what do these words really mean?
Well, first of all, an outbreak is what happens when a disease or sickness first appears somewhere. This word originates from the old English word ūtābrecan from the 13th century.
After an outbreak, if the disease starts spreading more widely in an area we call it an epidemic. This comes from the Greek words “epi,” meaning upon and “dêmos,” meaning people.
I really love this word because these root words that mean “upon the people” sounds pretty epic! When I think about something being released upon the people, I think about aliens or something crazy like a sharknado!
If an epidemic continues to spread to other places around the world like the Coronavirus is currently doing, then we call it a pandemic. As you can guess, the word pandemic is similar to epidemic in terms of its root words which are “pân,” which means all, and once again “dêmos,” meaning people. In other words, a pandemic is something that affects all people which makes sense, right?
To stop diseases from spreading, we put people or things in places separate from other people. We call this kind of place a quarantine, and this word has a really interesting history. The word quarantine can be found as far back as 1300CE, originally coming from the Latin word quadraginta, but more commonly known through the Italian variation quarantina which means the number forty. It was said that if you were affected by the black plague, that you should stay in isolation away from other people for forty days to prevent spreading the disease. For the Coronavirus, governments are asking people stay quarantined for fourteen days, which sounds a lot better than forty if you ask me!
You can see examples of quarantines in all kinds of movies. For example, in the classic movie ET the Extra-terrestrial in 1982, the alien ET is kept in quarantine to make sure he doesn’t infect humans. In China, the government is putting people in special hospitals that they built as quarantines so that other people outside the quarantines don’t get sick.
Why do you think the Coronavirus is spreading so quickly? We say that if something like a virus spreads quickly that it is contagious. Contagious comes from the words “cum,” meaning together and “tangere” which means to touch. This makes a lot of sense because it is when people come into contact with each other that diseases spread, right?
One thing about the word contagious is that it is not limited to only diseases, but can be used for anything that spreads quickly. For example, a lot of people say that a smile is contagious, and if you smile, people around you will smile too! I hope that hope is contagious and that people realize that the Coronavirus is not the end of the world!
I hope that this helped you understand these really interesting Coronavirus-related words. This was Language Arts with Adam and please remember to like, subscribe, wash your hands and stay healthy!