Novel coronavirus now officially called COVID-19

Posted on Feb 13 2020

From a temporary name of 2019-nCov, the novel coronavirus is now officially designated as COVID-19.

The World Health Organization gave the virus its official designation last Feb. 11.

The first three letters, “COV,” comes from coronavirus, the “D” stands for disease, and the 19 stands for 2019, the year the virus was first identified, which was last December.

According to an online article in The Hill, WHO officials said that the agency wanted to avoid a name that refers to geographical locations, animals, or groups of people to avoid classifying a country or individual group of people. The coronavirus was previously referred to as 2019-nCoV, and some would call it the “Wuhan virus,” a city in China where the illness originated.

In addition to the name change, WHO reported last Feb. 11 that there are now 42,708 confirmed cases in China, and 1,017 people have died from the virus. Meanwhile, there are 393 cases in 24 other countries, with one death outside China.

WHO will soon be hosting a conference of more than 400 scientists from around the world, in person and virtually, to talk about controlling the outbreak.

Since the virus outbreak first came up, there have been many rumors about suspected cases of COVID-19 in the CNMI but the Commonwealth Health Care Corp. has consistently denied this, making clear that there are no confirmed cases here. It has submitted a specimen for testing to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia last Feb. 11 but this does not mean that the CNMI has a confirmed case. CHCC stated that this patient does not meet the full coronavirus case definition, but they are still taking precautionary orders in order to protect the CNMI.

CHCC will provide further updates on this case when it becomes available.

Justine Nauta
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