Coronavirus: This term refers to a family of seven known viruses that can infect people. They range from coronaviruses that simply cause a common cold to the form that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV), which emerged in Asia in 2002, and the even-deadlier Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV), which appeared in 2012. The name comes from the fact that under a microscope, the virus looks like a blob surrounded by crownlike spikes, a corona.
COVID-19: The new coronavirus itself is officially named SARS-CoV-2. The disease the virus causes in people—the fever, coughing, shortness of breath and, in severe cases, pneumonia and death—is named COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19.
Community transmission: Community transmission refers to cases in which a disease is circulating among people within a certain area who a) did not travel to an affected area, and b) have no close link to another confirmed case. Community transmission suggests the virus is spreading within a location in ways health officials have trouble tracking and containing.
Quarantine: Restricting the movement of people who seem healthy but may have been exposed to the virus is referred to as a quarantine. Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan and cruise ships, for example, were kept in strict quarantine on military bases for 14 days, which is what experts believe is the virus’ incubation period.
*Excerpted from The Washington Post.