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Black Death (The fascinating origins of pandemic terms)

Sábado, 16.05.20

[Clint Witchalls/The Conversation/14.05.2020]


The current pandemic, COVID-19, is a contracted form of Coronavirus disease 2019. The term for this genus of viruses was coined in 1968 and referred to their appearance under the microscope, which reveals a distinctive halo or crown (Latin corona). Virus comes from a Latin word meaning “poison”, first used in English to describe a snake’s venom.




SELF-ISOLATION, the measure of protection which involves deliberately cutting oneself off from others, is first recorded in the 1830s – isolate goes back to the Latin insulatus “insulated”, from insula “island”. An extended mode of isolation, known as quarantine, is from the Italian quarantina referring to “40 days”. The specific period derives from its original use to refer to the period of fasting in the wilderness undertaken by Jesus in the Christian gospels.


LOCKDOWN, the most extreme form of social containment, in which citizens must remain in their homes at all times, comes from its use in prisons to describe a period of extended confinement following a disturbance.


Many governments have recently announced a gradual easing of restrictions and a call for citizens to “stay alert”. While some have expressed confusion over this message, for etymologists the required response is perfectly clear: we should all take to the nearest tall building, since alert is from the Italian all’erta “to the watchtower”.




(imagem: Shutterstock/

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publicado por Produções Anormais - Albufeira às 17:40

Coronavirus Outbreak − A Pandemic?

Terça-feira, 25.02.20

[De artigo de Rachael Rettner (em Live Science) de 24 de fevereiro.]


It's still too soon to call coronavirus outbreak a pandemic



Workers wearing protective gear spray anti-septic solution at a subway station

in Seoul, South Korea, on Feb. 21, 2020,

as a measure to contain the new coronavirus.


"Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet."

(Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus/Diretor-Geral da OMS/Feb. 24)


As the number of coronavirus cases reported outside of mainland China continues to climb, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it's still too soon to declare the outbreak a pandemic.

The decision of whether to call the outbreak a pandemic is based on several factors, including "the geographical spread of the virus, the severity of disease it causes and the impact it has on the whole of society," Ghebreyesus said. Right now, "we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus, and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or death," he said.

In recent days, there has been a surge in COVID-19 cases in South Korea, Italy and Iran. Ghebreyesus called these increases "deeply concerning."

“This is a time for all countries, communities, families and individuals

to focus on preparing."

(Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus/Diretor-Geral da OMS/Feb. 24)

Ghebreyesus also shared new findings from WHO's team in China. The team found that the outbreak in China peaked between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2, and that it has been declining since then. Those with mild cases of COVID-19 appear to recover in about two weeks, while people with severe or critical disease recover within three to six weeks. The death rate is between 2% and 4% in Wuhan (the city where the outbreak began), and 0.7% outside of Wuhan, the team found.


(texto/legenda: excerto do artigo de Rachael Rettner/24.02.2020/

– imagem: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images/

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publicado por Produções Anormais - Albufeira às 00:36