Super-spreader, PUI, SARS-CoV2. Do these words confuse you? Understand COVID-19 by understanding the common words used when COVID-19 is talked about.

Contact tracing

This refers to everything that is done to identify and monitor individuals who may have had any form of contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 as a means of controlling the spread of the disease. 


Something, usually a disease is termed contagious if it can be transmitted from one person to another either through direct or indirect contact. COVID-19 is contagious.


According to Times, quarantine typically describes the confinement of people who appear healthy but could have the disease. It is different from isolation. When someone is determined to be sick and is kept apart from others, that is known as isolation.

Novel Coronavirus (nCoV)

A new strain of coronavirus that has never been detected in humans.


COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease, which means it exists in animals but can also infect humans. 


It is simpler than you think. Self-isolation means strictly staying at home or identified accommodation, away from family members or the general public, for a period of 14 days. This means any situation where you may come in close contact with others (face to face contact closer than 2 meters i.e. 5 feet).

Know your COVID-19 risk factor with a quick self-assessment test

Social distancing

Social distancing refers to all you do to reduce physical contact with people. The aim is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by not being infected yourself. 

Pandemic, epidemic, and outbreak

An outbreak can become an epidemic, and an epidemic can become a pandemic. An outbreak is a sudden increase in the incidence of a disease in a place.  If the disease starts affecting many people at the same time, it becomes an epidemic. If this occurs across a wide geographical area and affects a large number of people, then it becomes a pandemic. 

COVID-19 is an example of a global pandemic that started as an outbreak in China.


This is a special case of infection where an infected person shows no symptom of COVID-19 until when tested and diagnosed with the disease.


Usually, blood collected from a subject to help carry out diagnoses in a laboratory.

Hand Sanitizers

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are prescribed for curbing the spread of COVID-19. According to Wikipedia, a hand sanitizer is a liquid or gel generally used to decrease infectious agents on the hands. 

A confirmed case

This is any person who tested positive (with or without symptoms) for SARS-CoV2 from a laboratory test.

A suspected case

This refers to any person presenting with any symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough or difficulty in breathing.

A probable case

This is any suspect case for whom testing for COVID-19 is indeterminate, or for whom testing was positive on a pan-coronavirus essay, or who died before samples were collected.

Know your COVID-19 risk factor with a quick self-assessment test

Clinical trial

Usually, for research purposes, this is an experiment on human participants on a possible new treatment for a disease. 

Community spread

This refers to the spread of a disease within a community

Recovery case

Someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV2 but now tests negative to a laboratory test.


Coronaviruses are a family of disease-causing viruses in animals. They got their name from the crown-ish spikes on their surfaces. MERS (the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) are two known diseases that are caused by coronaviruses. The most recent disease from this family of viruses is COVID-19. Just like SARS and MERS, this virus attacks the respiratory system.


According to Merriam Webster English Dictionary, COVID-19 is “a mild to severe respiratory illness that is caused by a coronavirus,” one that is characterized especially by fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure. The name is an odd sort of acronym, insofar as it is formed from portions of two distinct words (COronaVIrus & Disease) and the latter portion of date (the 19 from 2019). COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019

Incubation period

This is the time it takes for a person exposed to a virus to start showing symptoms of infection.

Index case

Also known as index patient or patient zero. The index case is the first documented case of an infectious disease in a population, region or family.


Usually, during an epidemic or pandemic, lockdown is a mandatory restriction to movement in certain areas to control the spread of disease. In lockdowns, individuals and families are advised to stay at home.

PUI (Person Under Investigation)

This is an individual suspected of potentially having COVID-19.


This is the virus that causes COVID-19. SARS-CoV2 stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2


A person is symptomatic if he or she is showing symptoms of a disease. For COVID-19 this includes coughing, fever shortness of breath.


According to Texas Medical Center, a vaccine is a biological preparation of organisms that provides immunity to a particular infectious disease. Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19


A super-spreader (or superspreader) is a person (infected with COVID-19) who is highly contagious and capable of transmitting a communicable disease to an unusually large number of uninfected individuals.

About the author

John Emoavwodua

1 comment

  • Just wish to say your article is as astonishing.

    The clarity in your put up is just nice and that i could assume you are a professional in this subject.
    Fine with your permission let me to take hold of your RSS
    feed to stay updated with forthcoming post. Thank you one million and
    please continue the rewarding work.


A global decentralized healthcare system, that provides a plethora of features that guarantees the safety, privacy, and accessibility of health records globally. We are bringing patients, health specialists and health providers together to collaborate for faster and more efficient healthcare delivery in a secure environment.

%d bloggers like this: