Outbreak Finally Has an Official Name: COVID-19. Here’s How to Pronounce It

Wuhan virus, novel coronavirus, mysterious pneumonia.

The above are the names that we’ve been calling the virus day in and day out since it first cropped up on our radars in December 2019.

It never had a ‘proper’ name partly due to the fact that health experts knew little to nothing about this new strain of the virus.

It was just too new.

However, seeing as the novel coronavirus is here to stay for the foreseeable future as evident from its prevalence all over the world aka a whopping 44,000 confirmed cases worldwide and over 1110 fatalities.

Thus, naming it would be a wise option for a variety of reasons.

Outbreak Finally Has an Official Name: COVID-19. Here’s How to Pronounce It

The UN health agency has announced the official name for the coronavirus from China.

The virus itself was described as a “very grave threat” for the world. However, there is a “realistic chance” of stopping it.

And without further ado, I will reveal its name: “COVID-19”.

“We now have a name for the disease and it’s COVID-19,” said World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Tedros explained that:

  • “co” stands for “corona”.
  • “vi” stands for “virus”
  • “d” stands for disease
  • “19” was the year the outbreak was first identified


But how exactly do you pronounce this name so you can sound like a dignified and cultured individual you ask?

Well, it sounds exactly the way it looks.

Pronounce “Co” like the “ko” in Koko Krunch.

Pronounce “Vid” like how you would “vid” in Video.

Put it together and there you have it. Of course, don’t forget the “19”.

Tedros went on to explain that the name was chosen to avoid referencing or linking to a specific geographic location (ie Wuhan), animal species, or group of people as per the international recommendations for coming up with the name of the virus.

The main point of all of these restrictions is to prevent stigmatisation.

In the beginning, the virus had been given a temporary name by WHO, called the “2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease”, while China’s National Health Commission called it the “novel coronavirus pneumonia”.

The reason why we shouldn’t reference it to a particular location is because the country or city would be inevitably linked to the virus in the public mind.

For instance, names such as “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)” or “Spanish flu” are now avoided as they can stigmatise entire regions or ethnic groups.

The same can be said about the name “Wuhan Virus”.