Covid-19 Pandemic terminologies explained - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Covid-19 Pandemic terminologies explained

In order to understand the spread and containment of pandemic such as one caused by Corona Virus, it is important to understand various terminologies used.

I've made an attempt to compile a list of most commonly used terminologies and their meanings

1. R0: Read as R-Not, R0 is a reference to how many person each infected person is spreading the disease to. If R0 is less than 1, it will eventually die down as the virus is not spreading to more people. Higher the R0, more dangerous the situation. India had R0 of under 2 few months ago, latest number not available.

2. Test Positivity Rate: How many people are testing positive for every 100 persons tested. While lower test positivity rate is a healthy sign, it is always important to pick up right candidate for testing- like those who have high probability of infection or carrying it.

3. Fatality Rate: How many people are dying per every 100 infected person. Fatality rate is also more popularly expressed in deaths per million population.

4. Total Number of cases: Obvious number, sum of active, dead and discharged cases

5. Active cases: Total Number of cases minus those discharged or dead.

6. Test per million people: Rate of testing per million people in the country.

7. Rate of doubling: After how many days the total number of cases are doubling. The count was 7-8 days earlier for India but now down to 23 days- this is good, but our base has increased. While doubling from 5k to 10k in a week doesn't sound alarming, doubling from 1 lakh to two lakhs in 3 weeks will sound scary.

8. CDGR: Compound Daily Growth Rate
A measure of day by day increase in number. Lower the better. 11% for India (Everyday number of new cases are 11% more than previous day)
Image sourced from this tweet. (Shramika Ravi)

9. Contact Tracing: Process of identifying whom all an infected person has met in past 14 days, so as to isolate them as well and prevent further spread.

10. Flattening the curve: The hope that new active cases keep falling and more people recover than those who test positive, so that eventually number of active cases comes down to zero.

11. Incubation: Duration when a virus enters a body, grows silently without causing any symptoms or health issues to the host human being.

12. Asymptomatic: Suspected persons who are not showing any symptoms of the virus infection

13. Quarantine related terminologies
Self Qurantine/Home Quarantine
Quarantine at home
Institutional Quarantine
Quarantine at a Govt specified location
Isolation Ward
Infected persons are monitored in a dedicated area of Covid-19 treatment facility
Intensive care unit
An apparatus that assists in breathing. Required when an infected person is facing severe breathing problems
Shelter in Place
A term used in US States to indicate people shouldn’t step out of their homes
Curfew/Section 144
Prohibitory order that makes it illegal for people to come to street, form a group or hold any public activity
Containment Zone
A locality/ward with multiple positive cases, sealed off to prevent further spread of virus


14. PPE: Short for Personal Protective Equipment designed to filter out the virus from getting into our bodies. Mostly plastic made outer wear, masks and head gears.

15. Comorbidity: A term referred to other existing health issues such as respiratory disorder, high BP, TB etc. These diseases complicate recover when corona virus also enters the body.

Did I miss anything? What other terminologies have you come across that was not easy to understand?

Related: Life lessons from Corona Pandemic

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