The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday announced the official new name of nCoV2019 (2019 novel coronavirus).
The virus will now be known as COVID-19, spelt C-O-V-I-D hyphen one nine. Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said:
Under agreed guidelines between WHO, the @OIEAnimalHealth & @FAO, we had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease.
The virus originated in the city of Wuhan in China, and according to Forbes, it was being frequently named the “Wuhan coronavirus,” or “Chinese coronavirus,” but neither of these were official names and some believe they may have contributed to discrimination against Chinese people.
There have been reports of racist incidents directed towards Chinese communities around the world since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The naming of viruses matters according to reports, for instance, people shunned pork products following the emergence of “Swine Flu” despite there being no evidence that the disease could be spread via consuming pork.