Idioms, Expressions, Vocabulary

Virus-related Vocabulary in English

June 23, 2020

There is no denying that our news feeds are now filled with virus-related content. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all. Do you know this virus-related vocabulary in English? Knowing this vocabulary will make it easier for you to read global news and keep up with the latest data. 

Virus-related Vocabulary in English 


Definition: A person who has a virus but does not show symptoms. This person is called a “carrier.”

Just one asymptomatic person at the party gave the virus to more than 50 people.


Definition: A disease or condition regularly found among a group of people or in a specific region. 

We always experience higher levels of cold and flu during the winter. Both of these endemic diseases can severely affect our health. 


Definition: A sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease. 

Experts are still trying to decide when they classified COVID-19 as “epidemic” in China. 

Essential work

Definition: A person who cannot work from home and whose services are needed during a pandemic. 

Many people forget that postal employees are essential workers who also risk their lives to continue their jobs during the pandemic. 

Flattening the curve

Definition: An attempt to slow infections, which would make the peak on a graph look much flatter than a graph with a peak in a community that did not attempt to slow infections. This expression encourages people to minimize the peak, which helps minimize the stress on the health care system.

Hot spots

Definition: Regions where the virus spreads suddenly and rapidly. 

Scientists have identified two new hot spots in the country and are working to isolate the disease there. 

Incubation period

Definition: The time between when a person is exposed to the disease and when he or she begins showing symptoms. 

Scientists are still unsure of the exact incubation period for COVID-19, but they suspect it is anywhere from 2-14 days. 


Definition: A state in which most all businesses, offices, and public spaces are closed. 

During lockdown, we played a lot of video games. 


Definition: A sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease in a particular area. 

We experienced an outbreak in New York and then later outbreaks in other areas. 


Definition: An epidemic that spreads over a larger area and begins to affect people globally. 

In addition to crowding hospitals, making millions sick, and leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, the COVID-19 pandemic caused border closures, flight cancellations, and economic losses around the world. 


Definition: An order (usually official, from the government) to stay at home and only leave the house for essential trips, such as buying groceries or going to the doctor. 

Social distancing

Definition: Putting space between yourself and others; not physically touching other people.

Most stores now require customers to practice social distancing at all times. This can make it difficult for some workers to assist customers, but stores are finding new and inventive ways to do this successfully. 


Definition: An infected person who spreads the disease to many others. 

Thanks to one super-spreader at a party in Michigan, hundreds of people were exposed to the virus and more than 40 people became sick. 

What are some virus-related vocabulary words that you learned? Tell us on social media. Stay safe and healthy, friends. 

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