• HooPayz

Glossary of COVID-19 terms

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

In the past week, there have been a lot of terms floating around that relate to the Coronavirus. But what exactly do all these terms mean? The HooPayz team has put together a handy COVID-19 glossary* so you have all the definitions right at your fingertips!

*These definitions have been pulled directly from the CDC and FDA.


Close Contact

a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case

– or –

b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on)

Source: CDC


The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.

Source: CDC

Community Transmission/Spread

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or there they became infected.

Source: CDC

Controlled travel

Controlled travel involves exclusion from long-distance commercial conveyances (e.g., aircraft, ship, train, bus). For people subject to active monitoring, any long-distance travel should be coordinated with public health authorities to ensure uninterrupted monitoring. Air travel is not allowed by commercial flight but may occur via approved noncommercial air transport. CDC may use public health orders or federal public health travel restrictions to enforce controlled travel. CDC also has the authority to issue travel permits to define the conditions of interstate travel within the United States for people under certain public health orders or if other conditions are met.

Source: CDC

Congregate Settings

Congregate settings are crowded public places where close contact with others may occur, such as shopping centers, movie theaters, and stadiums.

Source: CDC

Droplet Spread

Refers to spray with relatively large, short-range aerosols produced by sneezing, coughing, or even talking. Droplet spread is classified as direct because transmission is by direct spray over a few feet, before the droplets fall to the ground.

Source: CDC


Refers to an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area.

Source: CDC

Essential Businesses

Tasks essential to maintain people’s health and safety. This list can vary state-to-state, but generally include:

· Obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;

· Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food, and getting supplies necessary for staying at home;

· Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running provided that you maintain at least six feet of social distancing;

· Performing work providing essential services at an Essential Business or Essential Government function;

· Caring for a family member in another household;

· Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, person with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons

· Healthcare operations, including home health workers;

· Essential Infrastructure, including construction of housing and operation of public transportation and utilities;

· Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores;

· Businesses that provide necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals and shelter facilities;

· Pharmacies, health care supply stores, and health care facilities;

· Gas stations and auto repair facilities;

· Banks;

· Garbage collection;

· Hardware stores, lumbers, electricians, and other service providers necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other essential businesses;

· Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning;

· Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;

· Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, and good directly to residences;

· Childcare facilities providing services that enable essential employees to go to work;

· Roles required for any Essential Business to “maintain basic operations,” which include security, payroll, and similar activities.

Resource: SFMayor.org


The separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.

Source: CDC

Herd Immunity

This suggests that if a high enough proportion of individuals in a population are resistant to an agent, then those few who are susceptible will be protected by the resistant majority, since the pathogen will be unlikely to “find” those few susceptible individuals. The degree of herd immunity necessary to prevent or interrupt an outbreak varies by disease. In theory, herd immunity means that not everyone in a community needs to be resistant (immune) to prevent disease spread and occurrence of an outbreak.

Source: CDC

N95 Respirators

A respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. The 'N95' designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of face masks. However, even a properly fitted N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness or death. For the general American public, there is no added health benefit to wear a respiratory protective device (such as an N95 respirator)

Source: FDA


An epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.

Source: CDC


The separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.

Source: CDC


Self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.

Source: CDC


People should remain alert for subjective fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop cough or difficulty breathing during the self-observation period, they should take their temperature, self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.

Source: CDC

Social Distancing

This means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

Source: CDC

Stay Healthy!

-The HooPayz Team