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Specialist Language Courses

Virginia Allum’s Medical English lessons – What is coronavirus and what happens now it is a pandemic?

Vocabulary


Before listening to the lecture, check that you know these terms.

(to) contain                          to contain a virus/ to contain the spread of a virus
de-facto                                something which exists even though it may not be legal
epidemic
lock down                             a lockdown (noun) / the city is in lockdown / to lockdown an area
outbreak                               an outbreak of a disease (noun)
pandemic
(to) pre-date
quarantine                           in quarantine (noun)/ to quarantine a person or animal
self-isolation                        in self-isolation (noun) / to self-isolate
strain                                    a strain of a virus (noun) [note: different from a muscle strain]
taxonomy
virologist                             virology

 

WHO – World Health Organisation
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – Director-General of the World Health Organization since 2017. He previously served in the Government of Ethiopia as Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016.  (from Wikipedia)

 

Watch the video and try to understand the main points. Before you start, think about these questions:


1. What do you already know about the coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2)?
2. Do you know about other coronaviruses and their symptoms?
3. Why is their global concern about Sars-CoV-2?

 

 

Now, watch the video again and complete the text using terms from the vocabulary list. The complete transcript with the answers is at the end of the worksheet.

 

What is coronavirus and what happens now it is a pandemic?

from: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/china-coronavirus

Note that this text was taken on 21st March 2020. This article has now been updated to reflect the latest figures in this incredibly fast-moving situation. 

1. More than 265,071 people have been infected with the novel virus, with significant ________________________ in Italy, Iran and Spain, and 177 deaths in the UK.

On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) China office heard the first reports of a previously unknown virus behind a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in Eastern China with a population of over 11 million.

2. What started as an __________________ mainly limited to China has now become a truly global __________________. There have now been over 265,495 confirmed cases and 9,785 deaths, according the John Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard, which collates information from national and international health authorities. The disease has been detected in more than 150 countries and territories, with Italy, Iran and Spain experiencing the most widespread ________________outside of China. In the UK, there have been 3,983 confirmed cases and 177 deaths as of March 20.

3. The Chinese government responded to the initial outbreak by placing Wuhan and nearby cities under a ______________ quarantine encompassing roughly 50 million people in Hubei province. This quarantine is now slowly being lifted, as authorities watch to see whether cases will rise again.

4. In Italy, which is experiencing the largest outbreak outside of China, the government took the unprecedented step of extending a _________________ to the entire country, shutting cinemas, theatres, gyms, discos and pubs and banning funerals and weddings. In the UK, the government has shut pubs, restaurants, bars and cafés, advised people to avoid all unnecessary social interaction or travel and directed households in which one person falls ill with coronavirus symptoms to __________________ themselves for 14 days.

5. On March 11 the WHO officially declared that the Covid-19 outbreak is a ________________________. “WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” said its director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Although the WHO designated Covid-19 a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC) on January 30, it had been reluctant to call it a pandemic. “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death,” Adhanom said.

6. A quick note on naming. Although popularly referred to as coronavirus, on February 11, the WHO announced the official name of the disease: Covid-19. The virus that causes that disease is likely to be called Severe ________________ _____________________ Syndrome Coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2 for short, according to a draft paper from the International Committee on the ________________ of Viruses.

 

Extension work

Clearly this is a fast-changing situation with new information and research coming out daily. The article the text was adapted from has changed multiple times and the figures are still increasing rapidly. So, ask your students to do the research, update the information where necessary, and present the current situation back to you and their peers.

This could be a video presentation, powerpoint or an article they write.

 

Transcript

What is coronavirus and what happens now it is a pandemic?
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/china-coronavirus

1. More than 265,071 people have been infected with the novel virus, with significant outbreaks in Italy, Iran and Spain, and 177 deaths in the UK

On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) China office heard the first reports of a previously-unknown virus behind a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in Eastern China with a population of over 11 million.

2.What started as an epidemic mainly limited to China has now become a truly global pandemic. There have now been over 265,495 confirmed cases and 9,785 deaths, according the John Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard, which collates information from national and international health authorities. The disease has been detected in more than 150 countries and territories, with Italy, Iran and Spain experiencing the most widespread outbreaks outside of China. In the UK, there have been 3,983 confirmed cases and 177 deaths as of March 20.

3. The Chinese government responded to the initial outbreak by placing Wuhan and nearby cities under a de-facto quarantine encompassing roughly 50 million people in Hubei province. This quarantine is now slowly being lifted, as authorities watch to see whether cases will rise again.

4. In Italy, which is experiencing the largest outbreak outside of China, the government took the unprecedented step of extending a lockdown to the entire country, shutting cinemas, theatres, gyms, discos and pubs and banning funerals and weddings. In the UK, the government has shut pubs, restaurants, bars and cafés, advised people to avoid all unnecessary social interaction or travel and directed households in which one person falls ill with coronavirus symptoms to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

5. On March 11 the WHO officially declared that the Covid-19 outbreak is a pandemic. “WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” said its director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Although the WHO designated Covid-19 a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC) on January 30, it had been reluctant to call it a pandemic. “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death,” Adhanom said.

6. A quick note on naming. Although popularly referred to as coronavirus, on February 11, the WHO announced the official name of the disease: Covid-19. The virus that causes that disease is likely to be called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2 for short, according to a draft paper from the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses.