[Ads-l] Disease names and geography

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 1 19:13:26 UTC 2021

The World Health Organization has suggested that disease names should
not include geographical markers. (See the citation and excerpt at the
end of this message.) Hence, the name of the infectious disease
causing the current pandemic deliberately did not include "Wuhan",
"China", or "Asian". Instead, the name Covid-19 was constructed.

Interestingly, the major news organizations are not following this
advice when reporting about variants of Covid-19. For example, the
names "UK variant" and "South African variant" are employed in news
reports from CNN and BBC.

Perhaps this will change over time.

Here is a report from CNN last month. The title prominently features
the name "UK variant". The accompanying video shows the Director of
the CDC Rochelle Walensky, and she uses the term "B117 variant", but
the journalists mention "UK variant".

Website: CNN
Title: UK variant is now the dominant coronavirus strain in the US,
says CDC chief
Author:  Betsy KIein (CNN)
Date: April 7, 2021

[Begin excerpt of transcribed text]
Journalist: The CDC director just moments ago at the White House
briefing said that the UK variant is now the most prevalent strain in
the Unites States. Listen to this.
Rochelle Walensky: The B117 variant is now the most common lineage
circulating in the United States.
[End excerpt]

Website: BBC
Title: Covid: Fears of 'impending doom' in Pakistan
Author: Abid Hussain
Date: April 30, 2021

[Begin excerpt]
One of the key drivers which led Pakistan to this stage was the
arrival of the UK variant, as confirmed by Umar during second week of
March. He later declared it to be more dangerous than the original
But the variant has collided with something else: apathy.
[End excerpt]

Website: BBC
Title: Moderna vaccine appears to work against variants
Author: Michelle Roberts
Date: January 25, 2021

[Begin excerpt]
Blood samples exposed to the new variants appeared to have sufficient
antibodies to achieve this neutralising effect, although it was not as
strong for the South Africa variant as for the UK one.
[End excerpt]

Website: WHO.int
Title: World Health Organization Best Practices for the Naming of New
Human Infectious Diseases
Date: May 2015

[Begin excerpt]
Disease names may NOT include:
Geographic locations: Cities, countries, regions, continents

Examples to be avoided:
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Spanish Flu, Rift Valley fever, Lyme
disease, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, Japanese encephalitis
[End excerpt]

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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