[Ads-l] Disease names and geography

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 1 20:02:40 UTC 2021

It's a good idea socially -- i.e., *Don't Encourage Prejudice and Hatred*
-- but geographical names are a heck of a lot easier for most people to
remember than arbitrary strings of letters and digits.


On Sat, May 1, 2021, 3:13 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>

> 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
> https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/07/us/uk-variant-dominant-coronavirus-strain/index.html
> [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
> https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56888541
> [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
> strain.
> 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
> https://www.bbc.com/news/health-55797312
> [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
> https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/163636/WHO_HSE_FOS_15.1_eng.pdf
> [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

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

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