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‘The Onion’ Glossary To Coronavirus Pandemic Terms

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As the coronavirus continues to spread, The Onion, like other leading media outlets, is utilizing many terms that our uneducated readers have likely never heard before. In order to make our coronavirus content more understandable to the rabble, The Onion presents a glossary to common coronavirus pandemic terms.

Chinese Virus:

Trump, among others, has adopted the preferred term of race scientists

Personal Protective Equipment:

Outmoded medical wear such as masks, gloves, and gowns that fell out of favor with fashion-conscious manufacturers over the past decade


Zoonotic Disease:

Disease that can be passed between humans and animals, not that we’re trying to imply anything about what you were doing when you caught it


The final track on Less Than Jake’s seminal 1996 album Losing Streak


According to the World Health Organization, a disease that affects the United States and potentially other places


Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction:



Legendary, mysterious apparatus that can only be found by the most intrepid adventurers



Pronounced “r-nought,” a statistic that represents the contagiousness of a disease. For example, the coronavirus follows a classic pyramid R0, in which the disease ropes in individuals to contract it by assuring them they’ll earn a share of the lives of any individuals they, in turn, infect.


Shelter In Place:

Stop what you’re doing and make a fort

Case Fatality Rate:

Death rate, which varies by age group, geography, and a government’s capacity to give a shit