Woman wearing medical mask looks at her reflection through a glass window

Providing Comfort and Knowledge to Ease Coronavirus Fears

By Michelle Hopkins | 04/10/2020

In the future, someone will ask you where you were during the coronavirus pandemic of 2019-2020. You will recall events and tell about all the new words that cropped up overnight, like COVID-19 – and you will do it with a calm perspective that may seem out of reach right now. Concentra® knows this. That’s why, during the ongoing health emergency, we assure you, we are continuing to provide injury care and employer health services for your occupational health needs. 

Comfort comes from knowing where to turn

Concentra continues to provide injury care and employer services to thousands of businesses, many of which are ramping up their operations. We have taken all precautions to ensure safety in our medical centers, including enhanced cleaning protocols, advanced clinical triage, and additional measures you can read about on our COVID-19 web page. Concentra Telemed® and Concentra Telerehab® are available to serve you, as described here, so you still receive our quality care in the comfort and safety of your home.

Our clinicians are well versed in all the information you’re hearing in the news. But, some of the experts’ terminology may be a bit overwhelming to you, if you are hearing it for the first time. So, we put together the Coronavirus Word Quiz, a handy list of pandemic-related words, all clearly defined.

Give yourself one point for each word definition you knew already. Add your score for each of the five quiz sections and then calculate your total at the end. And here’s a twist. Your best result may not be in achieving a perfect score. The best result is learning something new every day. As our world evolves, learning is growth.

Knowledge Test #1. The coronavirus situation.

How many of these words did you know before reading the definition? (Possible score = 7)

COVID-19: A mild to severe respiratory illness that is caused by the coronavirus. Possible signs or symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath, possibly leading to pneumonia. COVID-19 is an acronym that combines coronavirus disease and the year the outbreak began (2019). 

Virus: Any of a large group of submicroscopic infectious agents that are usually regarded as nonliving, extremely complex molecules. They are capable of growth and multiplication only in living hosts, like people. Viruses cause diseases in people, animals, and plants. Antibiotic drugs are not effective against viruses. 

Infectious: Relates to how many pathogenic particles (bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms) are needed to infect an exposed person. Infectious is not interchangeable with contagious, which refers to a disease being transmissible by direct or indirect contact with an infected other.

Outbreak: Occurrence of disease cases in excess of normal, usually caused by an infection and transmitted person-to-person. Outbreaks can also occur from exposure to chemicals or radioactive substances.

Epidemic: A disease epidemic is one that affects many people at the same time and spreads from person-to-person in a region or community where the disease is not permanently prevalent.

Pandemic: An epidemic that has spread over a large area and has become prevalent throughout a country, a continent, or the entire world; it refers to a worldwide spread of disease.

Knowledge Test #2. COVID-19 spread or containment.

Let’s see how you do on these words about the coronavirus spreading or being stopped from spreading. (Possible score = 8)

Fomite: An object where infectious organisms may reside and be transferred, such as by touch of the surface and then touching one’s face. Phones can present a risk as a fomite because they are high-touch, non-porous objects that are rarely cleaned. The risk of becoming infected by such transmissions diminishes over time.

Social distancing: A word in use since 2003, it means avoiding close contact (usually within six feet) with other people during an outbreak of a contagious disease to minimize exposure and reduce transmission of infection. “Social distancing” is a noun. “Socially distance” is a verb.

Quarantine: Separating away from other people any person or group of people who are reasonably believed to have been exposed to an infectious disease (even if not showing symptoms) for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease. This is not the same as isolation, which means complete separation from others of a person who is suffering a contagious disease. Quarantine is done when exposure is reasonably suspected. Isolation occurs when a person is known to be suffering from a communicable disease. (Doing either voluntarily is called either self-quarantine or self-isolation.)

Shelter in place: A stringent measure available to local authorities in a community, city, county, or state who want to compel residents to stay in their homes and limit movements to prevent the spread of a contagious disease. The only tougher measure is a full quarantine or lockdown.

Community spread: Within a defined geographic location, the spread of a contagious disease to individuals who have no known contact with known infected individuals and who have not recently traveled to an area where there are documented cases of the disease.

Knowledge Test #3. How it begins.

These words aren’t quite as common but help us understand how a disease like the coronavirus begins. (Possible score = 2)

Contact tracing: Identifying and monitoring individuals who may have had contact with an infectious person as a means of controlling the spread of a communicable disease.

Index case: The first documented case of an infectious disease or genetically transmitted disease, condition, or mutation in a population, region, or family. If the reference is to the person who is the first identified in a population as having the disease, condition, or mutation, the term index patient or patient zero may be used.

Knowledge Test #4. Protection and treatment.

These words convey specific meanings that are important for your protection from the coronavirus and ones that health care professionals and other first responders will use. (Possible score = 6)

Personal protective equipment or PPE: Equipment worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards. Examples of PPE include gloves, foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices (earplugs, muffs), hard hats, respirators, and full body suits. You can read more about PPE in this brochure from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the source of this definition.

Respirator: A masklike device worn over the mouth, or mouth and nose, to prevent the inhalation of noxious substances. Health professionals wear respirators to filter out virus particles as they breathe so they don’t get infected with COVID-19 while helping people and treating patients.

Ventilator: A machine that helps patients breathe by pumping oxygen into the lungs and removing carbon dioxide through a tube. Carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of breathing.

N95 respirator: Not recommended for use by the public, this is a respiratory protection device used by health care professionals to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. When tested, the respirator blocks 95 percent of very small test particles. A N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness or death.

Surgical mask: Not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for protection against the coronavirus. Surgical masks, the CDC said, are to be reserved for use by medical personnel Surgical masks may be referred to as face masks but not all face masks are surgical masks. A surgical mask is loose fitting and does not filter out or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs or sneezes. A surgical mask is not intended to be used more than once.

DIY masks: In light of new evidence, the CDC recommended that individuals wear cloth face masks in public, but continue to socially distance from others.  When the CDC addresses the use of homemade masks by health care professionals, it says, “...homemade masks are not considered PPE since their capacity to protect health care professionals is unknown. Caution should be exercised when using this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front and sides of the face, extending to the chin or below.”

Knowledge Test #5. New names for people.

Finally, you may hear these words that describe characteristics or behavior of people. (Possible score = 5)

Super spreader: An individual who is highly contagious and capable of transmitting a communicable disease to an unusually large number of uninfected individuals.

Covidiots: A word used in social media to describe a person who unnecessarily hoards supplies or food, depriving others of those needed goods during a pandemic. It may also refer to a virus-infected person who has a cavalier or irresponsible attitude about exposing others to the disease.

Introvert: A person with an inward orientation to life, who tends to be quiet, cautious, and deeply thoughtful. An introvert may be more interested in ideas than people. There are different degrees of introversion, and events in life can cause a person to move along the spectrum toward extroversion.

Extrovert: A person with an outward orientation to life, who is sociable, talkative, and outgoing; frequently an extrovert is more interested in people than quiet time to ruminate about ideas, but likewise can move along the spectrum toward greater introversion, if life events trigger a shift.

Ambiverts: A person whose orientation to life lies in the middle between introversion and extroversion. An ambivert has both introverted and extroverted tendencies, depending on the situation.

These last three words are included in our list, not because they are being used in news coverage about the coronavirus, but because they are personality aspects that may come into play as employees are required to work from home. This can be a big change for the sales professional, who thrives in large group meetings. On the other hand, employees such as analysts or writers who have a tendency toward solitude are likely to thrive in the new environment. Ambivert is described to provide encouragement. Whatever happens in life, if the need is strong enough, we can all move along the introversion-extroversion spectrum, though doing so may require patience, support, or even a small amount of training, particularly in the current climate.

What was your score?

There’s a total of 28 possible in all five quiz sections. You may have known many of these words already but hopefully you learned a few new ones, too.

Our commitment

Concentra is ready to provide occupational health care services for your employees who are working harder than ever. We don’t know how long the coronavirus will continue to be a concern but work and life go on.

We encourage you to take advantage of Concentra Telemed® for at-home or at-work occupational injury care 24/7. This page will give you information on how to use our telemedicine services. Concentra Telerehab is available for employees who need physical therapy. Also, we urge you to stay updated by visiting the Concentra COVID-19 web page for information.

As the nation’s largest provider of occupational health care services, Concentra continues in our mission to “improve the health of America’s workforce...one patient at a time.”


Information for the definitions in this article were provided by: Merriam-Webster Dictionary; Dictionary.com; the Association of Health Care Journalists; the Urban Dictionary; Wired magazine; Forbes magazine; the World Health Organization; the US Food and Drug Administration; the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology.