What’s in a name? “Wuhan Coronavirus”, “Chinese Coronavirus”, “2019 nCov” – and now COVID-19.
The deadly virus which caught the world by storm had already claimed more than 1000 lives mostly in Wuhan, China and infecting more than 43,000 individuals sparking a global health emergency.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, CO stands for Corona, VI for Virus, and D for Disease. Ghebreyesus said COVID-19 vaccines will be available in 18 months.
The WHO have decided on the renaming of the new strain of coronavirus to COVID-19, as the virus will now be known from now on.
“Under agreed guidelines between WHO, the @OIEAnimalHealth & @FAO, we had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease,” said Ghebreyesus.
The coronavirus which is believed to have originated in Wuhan China, had been frequently named the “Wuhan coronavirus,” or “Chinese coronavirus.” These were not official names which inadvertently contributed to discrimination against the Chinese people.
“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks,” said Ghebreyesus.
The WHO was hoping to de-stigmatize COVID-19’s association with the city of Wuhan and the people who live there.
While the Chinese economy contracted mainly due to the disease outbreak, Chinese communities from around the world have been reporting racist slurs and negative impacts on their businesses. The Chinese businessmen particularly those in the restaurant business had reported more than 30 percent reduction in their sales.