A guide to key terms and phrases as coronavirus continues to spread

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — During the coronavirus outbreak over the last few weeks several new terms and phrases are being used. Here is a guide to what they mean.

Coronaviruses: A large family of viruses that are common in people and different animals, including. The CDC says rarely, animal coronaviruses, can infect people and then spread with this novel (new) virus. 

COVID-19: stands for coronavirus disease 2019

Outbreak vs. Epidemic vs. Pandemic: The CDC defines an epidemic as a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in and area. Outbreak is similar to epidemic, but for a more limited geographic area. WHO currently classifies COVID-19 as an outbreak. Pandemic is an epidemic that has spread over several countries, affecting a large number of people.

Person-to-person: How health officials say COVID-19 spreads. 
“You actually need to spend quality time with someone in close proximity to really be at risk for getting coronavirus from someone, similar to being in flu. So just walking through the aisle of a supermarket or walking through the airport, that is not is something that is going to put you at high risk,” said Dr. Mandy K. Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Mitigation: The US Surgeon General says response to COVID-19 has passed the containment stage to mitigation meaning officials are focused on helping communities dealing with the virus.
“Now we’re shifting into a mitigation phase, which means we’re helping communities understand you’re going to see more cases.  Unfortunately, you’re going to see more deaths, but that doesn’t mean we should panic,” said Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams

Social Distancing: Public health officials suggest those with underlying conditions should avoid large crowds.

“The ones who get in trouble at a high rate of people with underlying conditions, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, diabetes, particularly the elderly. Those are the ones that need to be protected because they’re vulnerable. So right now is what we’re saying. If you fall into that category, you shouldn’t wait for anything. You should be doing what some people are calling social discipline, distancing. What that really means, stay away from crowds. Don’t do travel. Above all. Don’t go near a cruise ship,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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