Lisbon Airport
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Four Overused Terms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Era

“‘the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV — pandemic’

“Seriously? Over, and over, and over again? How may times can you keep typing all that out?

“You must get paid by the word. If you are going to go to all that trouble, you may as well get it right (better do some more research).”

Four Overused Terms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Era

What you just read was this comment written by Dave — who is a reader of The Gate — in response to this article pertaining to the suspension of entrance fees until further notice to all of the national parks in the United States as a result of the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

The reason I begin each article with “2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV” is because the names had changed multiple times within the last four months, with both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization using the term 2019 Novel Coronavirus as the original name for public record.

I suppose I should be flattered that Dave read numerous articles here at The Gate pertaining to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic as assumed by his comment — I am not quite sure what he means by my getting “it right” — and I further suppose he may be correct in his assertion as a result of being annoyed…

…but in the era of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — in which millions of people are either isolating themselves or are under mandatory quarantine — feathers are apt to eventually get ruffled and the wrong raccoon may become rankled.

In other words, people in general may become more easily irritated by the onslaught of “cabin fever” — which is understandable — especially given that the seasons have turned to spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere; and the weather has been moderating over much of the planet.

Here are four terms which if I never read or heard them again for the rest of my life, I would be just fine with that:

1. Social Distancing.

Gate area Bahrain International Airport
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Social distancing is an oxymoronic term which is generally a defined a set of actions in controlling an infection without the use of pharmaceutical drugs, with the intention to mitigate or eliminate the spread of a contagious disease — and therefore minimize the transmission of a virus, bacteria, or germs from a possibly infected host to other people by reducing the probability of contact between them.

Examples of social distancing include maintaining a distance of six feet between people — which typically requires the cancellation or postponement of events, a temporary stoppage of mass transportation, and other mass gatherings of people — as well as isolation and quarantine.

I have been wondering what happened to the people who usually publicly accuse others of being obsessively compulsive about handling germs. Are they suddenly practicing social distancing?

My skin crawls whenever I hear or read the term social distancing.

2. Flatten the Curve.

Flatten the curve is a term used for the illustration — by using a simple graph or chart — of the ratio of reducing the number of cases of a disease to the point where the capacity of hospitals and other medical infrastructure is not overwhelmed.

The term flatten the curve may be somewhat new to the public vernacular, but not the idea behind it. Consider the diagram on page 18 of this report titled Interim Pre-pandemic Planning Guidance: Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation in the United States — Early, Targeted, Layered Use of Nonpharmaceutical Interventions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was first published in February of 2007.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The result of goals achieved by mitigation of a pandemic by the world community, if the peak of an outbreak is delayed, the burden on hospitals and other medical infrastructure is eased, which therefore diminishes overall cases and the impacts on health.

Still, flatten the curve has become overused jargon to the point where some people may not take its intended purpose seriously — a backfiring of sorts — and somewhat defeat its intended purpose.

3. Book With Confidence.

First used by airlines and lodging companies prior to when the 2019 Novel Coronavirus was labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the term book with confidence is marketing blather meant to assure a potential customer that if a purchase is completed, the customer can freely cancel a reservation without penalty by having to pay arguably usurious fees.

Book with confidence is only one of a plethora of terms used by companies which are using the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic as a marketing opportunity — especially when the chief executive officer of a company sends a message to you about how he or she cares about you and your well being; and that you are of the utmost importance to him or her.

Yeah. Right.

4. We Are All In This Together.

I want to believe this. Really. I truly want to believe that we are all in this together.

When the attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 occurred, I remember saying that if this historic event does not compel the world to unite towards a better future and to achieve goals which are important to the improvement of society in general, then we will have failed on an opportunity to ensure that the world is a better place for as many people as possible…

…and that failed colossally, in my opinion. Rudeness and incivility abound every day around the world. Politics are as prevalent as ever and seem to inhibit rather than achieve important goals — even today in the 2019 Novel Coronavirus error. Passengers of airplanes still must carry little bags of liquids, take shoes off at airport security checkpoints, and endure other seemingly inane procedures which supposedly connote the importance of safety — but arguably are little more than what some people call security theater — and I still stand by my controversial and unpopular opinions pertaining to my aversion to trusted traveler programs which were initiated by the federal government of the United States after 2001, which I believe is an erosion of some civil liberties and freedoms while the federal government simultaneously profits.

An example that we are not all in this together is a new controversy which recently surfaced in relation to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic: the allegation that Richard Burr — who is a Republican senator representing the state of North Carolina and the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee of the United States — reportedly “warned a small group of well-connected constituents three weeks ago to prepare for dire economic and societal effects of the coronavirus”, according to this article written by Tim Mak for National Public Radio, which is more popularly known as NPR; and yet Burr purportedly used that information to commit insider trading by selling $1.6 million in stock prior to the substantial decline in the value of the stock market.

Did Richard Burr profit on the information about which he knew without immediately alerting the public of what was forthcoming? I will leave that to Burr and the media to sort out the answer.

Burr denies the allegations.

Myriad other examples abound about how we are not all in this together — too many to cite in one article — but the sentiment of we are all in this together is nice; and I truly hope it prevails.


I truly hope that when the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic subsides — and it will eventually subside in some form, as evidence of that seems to be happening in China, which is the original source the pandemic — that we will have learned some valuable lessons to guide us as a society forward into the future…

…but in the meantime, I would like to know what mainstream terminology you believe is overused — and, perhaps, annoying — in the 2019 Novel Coronavirus era.

This article is the latest in a series pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in an effort to get the facts out with information derived from reliable sources.

Other articles at The Gate which pertain to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus include:

All photographs ©2015 and ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Fabulous compilation of irritating catchphrases of the season! My current bugaboo – An Abundance of Caution. What even is that?! Reasonable caution should be exercised daily, right? Why do we ignore it generally then suddenly jump to needing an abundance of it? And why must every entity brag about exercising it?

  2. Hard to get it right when the phraseology changes daily to make for better sounding spin at the podium. You are aware that it is, per the President, no longer any of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus name variations you mention. Per his daily press briefings, the right (or politically Right) thing to call it is “Chinese Virus” so we have someone to blame for our woes and ills.

    @Brian, I can’t express enough to you, in this flux of what next, how much I have appreciated you focusing on getting grounded information out to your readers and the AvBlog community as a whole. It saddens me to see bloggers still publishing so many obfuscated Amazon affiliate links and credit card schemes to make money while at home, when sites like San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times are dropping their paywalls to keep people up to date with critical and helpful information.

    I wish more bloggers would put their profits aside for people this couple weeks — use their power of e-print for helping people needing updates on ticket refund changes and developing travel-impact news, so thank you for being a positive influence(r) in that trend.

  3. In the case of Senator Burr, he said that he was informed of the trades in question well after the fact. I use a financial adviser at a large investment company who has the authority to adjust my portfolio to a some degree whenever an opportunity or threat is perceived as well as rebalancing it on a quarterly basis. So, I could probably be under that same accusation were I in his shoes. Senator Loeffler, of whom I am a constituent as a Georgia resident, is under fire in the same way. If someone with any reasonable amount of investments doesn’t have a similar plan, then they’re either ignorant or foolish…or both.

  4. I give the Senators the benefit of the doubt. The public has known about the Wuhan Chinese Corona Virus COVID-19 since January. We’ve heard the alarm and the spread to neighboring Asian countries and President Trump made a good decision to close travel from China. That was in January. This was not some secret the public was unaware of and doctors were making doomsday predictions since it started. In February these senators either had financial advisors who made trades or made the trades themselves. Even if the latter is the case there was no some secret information out of China the public did not already know. It turned out Italy and Iran didn’t cut off travel to China and monitor flights from Asian countries soon enough and that sparked the contagion. President Trump was first to act on China in January and first to curtail travel from Europe in March before any other big countries did the same. I wish he banned all travel in February but no one else did.

    1. I do not disagree with giving senators the benefit of the doubt, Jackson Adamson, as they do have a right to profit as well — but they are public figures; and sometimes some discretion should be exercised to avoid public scrutiny at what appears to be an inpropriety.

      Still, I do not know the entire story…

      Although I am outspoken at criticizing leaders, I do understand that walking the balance between necessary action and overreaction can be quite thin — but then, that is why they were elected: to lead according to their better judgment for the good of the people.

  5. You forgot “the new normal”. I don’t want a “new normal”. I want a normal normal. “Social distancing” is definitely one of my least favorites, and I’m not even a social person.

  6. Wow. March 19 @ 11:25 pm. You have been stewing over my comment for almost two months now. I am flattered! If you only knew just how entrenched I am in all things that surround you Brian, you would be even more amazed than you already are. I do so miss your catchphrase (rest assured, it is not the only thing I took away from you and your blog). 😉

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!