Jargonbuster: Recovering from Covid’s initial shock

The World Today Published 3 December 2021 1 minute READ

The pandemic that swept the world has left a permanent mark on most societies, including on our languages. Two years ago, English speakers would have been puzzled by the phrase ’social distancing’ and would probably have assumed that ‘WFH’ meant something rude rather than ‘working from home’.

A whole layer of jargon has been deposited on the vocabulary. At the high science end of public discourse, we now know what non-pharmaceutical interventions are (NPIs); that CEV stands for clinically extremely vulnerable; we can sometimes remember the difference between the case fatality ratio (CFR) and the infection fatality ratio (IFR); and some of us are even confident pronouncing dexamethasone.

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