Coronavirus, immunity, covid-19 and SARS-CoV-2. These are probably the four most commonly used words since 2020, although we are not always correct. Fernando Navarro, a doctor who has been trained and translated for more than 30 years, analyzed the main questions about the pandemic.
Since March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (Who) Formally promulgated Pandemic From Coronavirus diseaseOver the past year, all of us-doctors and health workers of course, but also journalists, and even ordinary people-hardly speak, read or write anything else.
Since no one can become a virologist, intensive scientist, epidemiologist, hygienist, vaccinologist, economist, molecular biologist, linguist, and pharmacologist overnight, it is common for people Doubts about the correct way to use these terms and concepts from the months of the pandemic are pouring on us.
Therefore, among the hundreds of terminological questions about the new coronavirus from China a year ago, the following are the most common:
Viruses and diseases
On February 11, 2020, the two naming committees held separate meetings: on the one hand, the WHO named it Coronavirus disease 2019 (Short form, Coronavirus disease) New respiratory diseases described in Wuhan; On the other hand, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses decided to convene Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (Short form, SARS-CoV-2) To its causal coronavirus.
In the field of infectious diseases, and even among doctors, it is very common to confuse infectious diseases with their pathogenic microorganisms. We look at this situation with phrases like “The health department is investigating a salmonella outbreak in a tourist hotel” (more like salmonellosis, right?) and “In blood transfusion materials, the presence of blood-borne viruses must be excluded For example, HIV or hepatitis C” (Hepatitis C is not a virus).
Unsurprisingly, in this pandemic, I also encounter this type of confusion more frequently than expected: “The number of people infected with covid-19 is increasing” (incorrect use of the disease name to refer to its cause Sex virus) or “he was admitted to the ICU by the coronavirus” (using an incorrect virus name to refer to the disease caused by it).
¿ COVID-19 or covid-19?
First of all, maybe we should ask ourselves a question, why we dare not create abbreviated new words directly in Spanish: ecov-2019 (Taken from’Coronavirus disease 2019′) or Covey 2019 (From “Coronavirus 2019”), this is an acronym that has greater memory value for us and can be easily integrated into the language system.
We take the abbreviated form for granted, and many people write Coronavirus disease All are expressed in capital letters, such as English.I personally recommend the lexicalized form Coronavirus disease, Lowercase letters are also considered valid by the Royal Spanish Academy (United Arab Emirates), in the long run, this is likely to prevail.
We described a clear precedent for human immunodeficiency syndrome in the early 1980s.They use English abbreviations AIDS, The term is still a common form of the language to this day. On the other hand, in Spanish, we initially wrote AIDS in capital letters (such as English), but the word was quickly lexicalized and translated into a common language, and entered RAE in 1992 The dictionary, called “AIDS”, is a lowercase common noun.
Covid-19: What is its pronunciation?
I pronounce “covid” as a high pitch: /Kobe/ (That is, I rhyme with David), but I hear other people (more and more) pronounce it in English: /kobid/, The sound is flat. Since it is a foreign acronym, both pronunciations are reasonable. But those with a flat pronunciation should write “covid” with a tilde (it is very rare at the moment, and I don’t see anyone doing that).
Coronavirus may be one of the most commonly used words last year. / UNED
Is he still covid-19?
As a simplified form of “coronavirus 2019”, I am well aware that your Spanish grammatical gender can only be female: In covid-19. However, I heard many people say “covid-19”; maybe think it is Anglicism; English is a language lacking grammatical gender, although most vulgar English languages ending in consonants are entered in Spanish with male gender.
However, it is more likely because they confuse the disease with the causal coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: “I say men are COVID, because it is a virus.” In the field of scientific popularization, this is a serious problem. And a very dangerous conceptual error.
Coronavirus or Coronavirus?
Anyone fairly familiar with reading scientific articles in English will notice that the suffix people Compared with English which is used exclusively for adjectives, it is used much more in English.For example, in the field of infectious diseases, English resorts to adjectives microorganism It expresses the relationship with microorganisms, and we call it “microorganism”.
If the pathogenic microorganisms are bacteria, then English speakers would say bacterial; We, “bacteria”.If it were mushrooms, the English adjective would be Fungal; In Spanish, “fungus”.If it is a protozoan, the English adjective will be Protozoan; In Spanish, “protozoario” or “protozoico”.Similarly, when it comes to viruses, English uses adjectives Viral What we traditionally say Viral: For example, replace *MMR* with MMR vaccine.
Translate English adjectives Coronavirus And to express the relationship with the coronavirus, I recommend using Spanish coronavirus, This is also the only method currently approved by RAE. However, I know that the pressure of English in modern medicine is huge, and many Spanish-speaking doctors can speak and write. Coronavirus. It is assumed that RAE should also accept it, because since 1992, it has included “virus” variants (currently used mainly in Spanish) and the traditional “virus” form in its normative dictionary.
Mortality and mortality
We call it death The number of deaths recorded in a given population and time period; and mortality rate, That is, the ratio of the number of deaths in a certain population to the total number of people in a given period. Therefore, as I wrote, since the beginning of the pandemic, the death rate due to covid-19 has been slightly higher in Germany (68,118 deaths) than in Spain (67,101 deaths); on the other hand, the death rate in Germany (≈0.82‰) It is much lower than Spain (≈1.43‰).
Mortality should not be related to thatLethalityThat is, the ratio between the number of deaths caused by a certain disease in a certain period and the number of diagnosed cases of the pathology in the same period.
During the first wave of the pandemic, many media even claimed that Spain’s covid-19 mortality rate was higher than 10% (if you consider Spain’s annual mortality rate, plus all known diseases, this is a nonsense., less than 1 %).
They obviously mean mortality. Even so, the news is shocking enough: because the mortality rate is different from the death rate and depends on the death rate. In the first wave, most cases in Spain remained undiagnosed due to lack of analytical testing and health system spillovers. Some recent studies have pointed out that the death rate of covid-19 is close to or slightly less than 1%. Or, roughly the same, more or less depending on the mortality rate of seasonal flu.
If I read a pocket bilingual dictionary, the first translation it gives me is English grazing Usually “herd”. Of course, this is not nonsense: we use the same name to refer to sheep or goats in Spain.but grazing It can also be any large group of animals living together, such as a herd of pigs or wildebeests. And it can also be applied to many people in English. In this case, we prefer to say “crowd”, “crowd”, “crowd” or “crowd” in Spanish.
If I were a veterinarian dealing with epidemics of sheep or goats, yes, maybe I would say “herd immunity”. However, if I am referring to the protection provided to the entire human community by immunizing important parts of the entire human community, enough to break the chain of infection, then it seems more logical to say. Herd immunity Ø Group immunity, They don’t believe it?
Fernando Navarro He is an expert in the field of clinical pharmacology, but soon he put on a phone mirror and a white coat to make a living as a text doctor. A medical translator with more than 30 years of experience. Since 2006, he has been responsible for “Language laboratory“At Medical diary.