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World Health Organization Renames Novel Coronavirus As Corona Virus Disease Or COVID-19

Here's why the name of the virus matters.
PHOTO: Unsplash/National Cancer Institute

The World Health Organization (WHO) has renamed the 2019 novel coronavirus as Corona Virus Disease or COVID-19, according to CNN Philippines. Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said, “Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing.” 

He said, “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,” following the guidelines of international organizations including WHO.

He continued, “It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”

The virus was previously called novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease or 2019-nCoV ARD. Originating from Wuhan, China, it has killed over 1,000 people and infected over 44,000 people around the world, with the vast majority of the cases in China. 

The first confirmed death outside China was a 44-year-old Chinese man in the Philippines. His companion, a 38-year-old woman, was the first confirmed case of infection in the Philippines. She was discharged on February 8 after testing negative twice. 

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The WHO director-general said there is a “realistic chance” of stopping the outbreak “if we invest now in rational and evidence-based interventions.”

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