The coronavirus pandemic has now spread across the world, resulting in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases.

As the virus and its implications become more widely understood among the general public, so too has curiosity about the virus’s name – how did covid 19 get its name? This article will dive into the history, process, and logic behind the widely-used moniker for the virus.

Origin of the Term

The term “covid 19” was coined by a World Health Organization (WHO) expert group in early 2020. After the virus’s initial emergence, global health officials needed a recognizable and unifying label for the novel virus. Without a formal classification, scientists and medical professionals around the world referred to the virus as the “novel coronavirus” or “2019 novel coronavirus.” After the WHO expert group decided on a more permanent name, they opted for “covid 19” – an acronym of “coronavirus disease 2019.”

Components of the Name

What was the reasoning behind covid 19? To break down the name, it helps to look at the individual components.

The first part – “Co” – stands for “Corona”:
The virus is part of a large family of viruses called “coronaviruses” which can range from being relatively harmless to deadly. This particular virus was identified as a “novel” coronavirus (meaning, it showed signs of being a variation of a coronavirus that had never been identified before).

The second part – “Vid”– stands for “Virus”:
The “V” in “Vid” stands for “virus,” indicating that what we’re dealing with is, in fact, a virus.

The third part – “19” – stands for “2019”:
The most common acronyms in scientific naming systems generally refer to a year; but in this case, “19” stands for the year 2019. This is when the novel coronavirus was first identified and when the outbreak began in Wuhan, China.

Logic Behind the Name

The logic behind the name is simple: by combining the components into one name, the WHO wanted a term that would be easy to recognize, pronounce, and recall. It also helps to differentiate the virus from other coronaviruses and viruses in general, and makes it easier for medical professionals to communicate about it.

Ultimately, the name “covid 19” came about relatively quickly and easily as a result of the need to identify a novel virus. The name combines components from coronaviruses, viruses, and the year it was identified, all into one easily recognizable and recallable acronym. The name is now widely used by medical professionals and the general public alike, and helps to solidify our understanding of the virus.