4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020


Coronavirus glossary: Every key term you need to know

Posted at 12:14 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 12:14:45-04

As we enter the third month of the coronavirus pandemic in Michigan, we wanted to put together a glossary of the most-common words you've been reading and have been used throughout the pandemic.

Asymptomatic – This is a person who is infected with a disease but doesn't show any symptoms. Studies have found that around 25% of people infected with COVID-19 could be asymptomatic.

Community Spread – People have been infected with the virus in an area, including some people who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Coronavirus – There are several coronaviruses. From Merriam-Webster, "any of a family (Coronaviridae) of large single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped spike proteins, infect birds and many mammals including humans, and include the causative agents of MERS, SARS, and COVID-19.

COVID-19 – This is the respiratory illness caused by the specific strain coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.

Executive Order – in Michigan, an executive order is signed by the governor and can be used for a variety of reasons. They "may reorganize agencies within the executive branch of state government, reassign functions among executive branch agencies, create temporary agencies, establish an advisory body, commission, or task force, proclaim or end an emergency, or reduce expenditures authorized by appropriations."

Flatten the Curve – This is a graph showing the projected number of new cases. The idea is to spread new cases out over time to not overwhelm healthcare systems.

N95 mask – Masks not for use by the general public as they are critical for healthcare workers. They protect the wearer from airborne particles from liquid contaminating the face.

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment, worn to protect people from hazards and illnesses.

PPP – Paycheck Protection Program, from the U.S. Treasury. Authorizes forgivable loans to small businesses to help pay their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Respirator – Mask or device worn over the mouth and nose to protect the respiratory system.

SARS-CoV-2 – This is the virus strain that causes COVID-19. It stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-related Coronavirus

Social Distancing – A way to limit contact with other people to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Includes staying at least six feet apart, not gathering in groups, avoiding crowded places and more.

State of Emergency – From Michigan State Police: "Pursuant to Michigan Emergency Management Act, the Governor may declare a “state of emergency” or “state of disaster” and activate applicable relief forces if an emergency or disaster or imminent threat thereof exists. The State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (SDEMHS), or the Deputy SDEMHS as authorized representative, will implement the orders and directives of the Governor in the event of a 'state of emergency' or 'state of disaster' declaration. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) will be activated as the primary point of direction and control for coordinating state response and recovery activities. In some situations, additional coordinating facilities may be established at or near the incident site."

Stay-at-Home Order – Orders issued by states during the coronavirus pandemic that tell people to stay at home unless doing essential business or activities.

Surgical Mask – A loose-fitting, disposable mask that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer.

Ventilator – Machine that helps a patient breathe by pumping oxygen into the lungs and removing carbon dioxide.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help businesses and restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

Also, get information about Rebound Mid Michigan, with stories, information and more about coming back from COVID-19

Join the Rebound Mid Michigan Facebook Group.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.