I hate the expression “frontline workers” instead of “doctors and nurses” or “medical personnel.” There’s no war. Let’s can the ridiculous drama already.

I also can’t stand the word “learners.” It reeks of a saccharine Jill-Biden type with a fake smile.

Of course, I hate “cases” and “positivity rate.” The latter seems to have gone away lately, and good riddance.

I detest “social distancing.” Whoever came up with it is an illiterate dunce.

Another one is “unsafe.” Just say dangerous, you unsmart uncase.

Which COVID words and expressions make you shudder?

47 thoughts on “COVID-speak”

  1. Why the need for the term “social distancing” when “physical distancing” or just “distancing” would do, and are more appropriate anyway.

    Social distancing is when people don’t reply to my texts and emails.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. // Why the need for the term “social distancing” when “physical distancing” or just “distancing” would do, and are more appropriate anyway.

      I’ve found the answer on one Russian blog:

      (from a Russian post “Digital – a sign of the poor”)

      The word “social” … In appearance it should mean “public”, but in fact it is often a euphemism for “intended for the poor.” For example, “social taxi”, “social benefits”, “social pension”, “social assistance”, “social card” (for pensioners), “social insurance”, “social services”. Even a “social worker” is also a worker who helps the poor, the elderly and the disabled. And the “welfare state” directly implies that it is a state in which there are many payments for the poor (social payments). Therefore, “digital” and “social” imperceptibly become synonymous …

      The original Russian post is here:


    2. The Russian blogger whom I quoted read NYT article “Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good”, so (the last quoted sentence becomes all the more significant now and provides food for thought):

      “We say the digital economy, but we mean the economy of services for the poor.
      You are poor if your doctor advises you on the Internet, and not in a personal meeting.
      Poor if your kids are learning online and not from offline teachers.
      Poor if you shop online instead of in a nice store in the city center.
      For the poor, there is a gigantic online sex market where Third World residents sell erotic fantasies to poor citizens of the First World who can spend their extra ten dollars on it.

      If you still receive services from living people or have the opportunity to communicate with them, then most likely you are a representative of a new elite, the prestigious consumption of which is the abandonment of digital services in favor of offline ones.
      The poor buy iPhones on credit, the rich abandon smartphones.
      The poor try to make their children know how to use computers, the rich offer their heirs private schools, where learning is based on communication between people.
      The life spent in front of the screen is now a sign of your failure in life.”


      1. Great analysis. Real food, real medicine, real education, real friends, real sex (see the recent encouragement from the authorities in VA to substitute sex with OnlyFans accounts), real restaurants – that’s for the rich. The rest should be happy in front of their screens. What a racket!


  2. Many times in my house when I saw a video of someone with a steady job, comfortable house etc say “we are all in it together!” there were yelling noises that started with the letter ‘F’ and ended in the letter ‘U’.


    1. I’m one of the people who can work remotely but at least I have the mental acuity to understand that many people can’t and empathize with their suffering.


      1. Yes I know, but it’s sad imo. A message that I think has been lost is that it was the governments of the world that failed everybody in regards to this virus. The shutdown in Melbourne of a few weeks showed that it can easily be contained if movement prohibitions are properly followed for a period of mere weeks, but instead, totally wrong measures were chosen that depleted everyones resources, whether financial, physical, or mental.

        So, while the ones in charge strut around as if they are great saviours rather than the vandals, hooligans, and deadshits they really are (imo), the rest of us argue about our right to either sacrifice (potentially) most of our health for money, or sacrifice (potentially) most of out money for health, with barely a word being said about the fact that proper implementation of basic controls early on would have led to a sacrifice of neither.


          1. The government of Melbourne, a city in Australia, with an out of control outbreak and hundreds of infections per day, successfully imposed a movement embargo and got the daily case and daily death rate down to zero. Life there is returning to normal, where the low case load and low death rate make it feasible to run standard testing regimes and get on with life.

            If governments had done that in the first place, all of this would be over. They did not. If they attempt it now, a positive result is dubious, but possible. They will not.

            Instead, we will witness economic collapse up close, because it is not possible to run a normal national economy over the backdrop of an abnormally bad viral epidemic.


            1. Man. We also have a very low death rate in my county. It’s 0-2 deaths per day of elderly people and it’s been like this forever. And nothing is over. Nobody cares about the death rates. They have zero impact on lockdown policies. It’s not about that at all.


              1. Respectfully Clarissa, you said something about governments not being able to do anything. Then, I provided evidence of a government being able to do something, using the city of Melbourne as an example. At that point, the discussion about that was finished.

                But now, without first acknowledging that the Victorian government did in fact do something about the virus in Melbourne, you’re talking about the death rate in your county, the impact that the death rate has, and declaring that it isn’t about that at all. So the discussion that was finished is, all of a sudden, not finished anymore.

                My lower bulb feels very squished 😦


              2. Give it a few weeks and cases will explode in Melbourne. That’s why I mentioned South Korea. Remember how it was a poster child for masks and contact tracing? Turns out it was all garbage.

                It’s a seasonal virus, so in Melbourne it probably means that March-April will see a ton of “cases “


              3. Yes, you’re probably right about cases rising sharply in Melbourne before too long. Those idiots have already begun importing Chinese students straight out of China, and signed up to the Belt and Road initiative besides. Reinfection from a foreign source seems certain.

                By the way, I don’t agree that the virus is seasonal, but explaining why I think that would be too long and a bit pedantic.


              4. What’s the alternative, though? You can’t close borders forever.

                I sincerely don’t understand the logic of isolation. It’s going to end eventually. In a year, in two, in a decade. And then you are back exactly where you started. What am I not seeing?


              5. Maybe you’re not seeing the polio example. In case you don’t know, polio is a really bad disease that could infect people for quite a long time, where a small percentage of people could easily quickly die from it or have their lives absolutely ruined.

                Many people had resigned themselves to polio being around forever etc but it was very abruptly stopped by the unexpected development of a therapeutic agent.

                I am sure that a lot of people who had given up on there being a medication of any kind for polio who got the disease (or watched their children get it) only a week or a month or whatever before discovery of an effective vaccine felt very regretful, because if they had just waited that little bit of time extra, they could have avoided it.

                I personally think that people today are even more stupid than parents who ignored polio dangers because at least these days we can generally assume that a medication will be developed, and can even guess as to how long it will take. Ignoring politicians and capitalists, generally speaking, we would expect about 18 months to pass for an imperfect but passable COVID vaccine to be developed.

                So, maybe the difference between your opinion and mine is that you see the flu while I see polio.

                Here’s a short video explaining polio and showing some of the worst effects, directly from a still living survivor:


              6. There’s nothing I dislike more than fake analogies. I’ve noticed that people “see” whatever they have decided to see when they talk about COVID, including the Bubonic plague. But how is that an interesting discussion?

                “When I think of COVID, I see tangerines. So let’s discuss fruit instead.”


              7. “There’s nothing I dislike more than fake analogies. I’ve noticed that people “see” whatever they have decided to see when they talk about COVID, including the Bubonic plague. But how is that an interesting discussion?”

                In that case, I’ll rephrase:

                In my professional opinion, the SARSCOV2 virus is a novel multi organ virus that will most likely cause life long disease in a way similar to meliodosis, with overall absolute lethality of the virus being much higher in the long term than is presently apparent.

                In my professional opinion, the SARSCOV2 virus appears not to affect children but will in fact affect them badly later in life with its sequelae, which means that many parents are likely burdening their children with severe yet unknown disease that will only manifest later, in the same way that parents unknowingly exposed their children to the polio virus through ignorance regarding its transmission, particularly in the early stages of its introduction to the human population.

                In my professional opinion, many people have only seemingly recovered from the virus, and will succumb to it later when one of its manifold sequelae emerge. Many have already died after having ‘recovered’, from such things as sudden strokes and heart attacks, since the main secondary mode of the syndrome named ‘COVID19’ appears to be vascular.

                In my opinion, the severity of this virus has been grossly underestimated by the so-called leaders who are charged with dealing with it, who have set a very bad example to many ignorant people in their charge, many of whom will very likely contract the virus and die as a result of their laxity.

                In regards to this virus, I am not interested in having an interesting discussion, but rather, informing people so as to hopefully allow them to avoid infection and detriment.


  3. “People are dying” used as response to sane arguments against lock downs and there is really nothing logical to say as counter argument.


    1. “Lockdowns are killing more people than Covid is” is my response to that. I am so sick of people telling me that. But getting anyone to understand that the deaths CNNBC wants to hype are not the only deaths happening in the world is virtually impossible these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved this Russian post re new words and expressions of the year:

    For non-Russian speakers, see the great expression of

    “Biocorrectness is an epidemiologically conscious and responsible behavior.”
    A Biocorrect citizen, club, restaurant…

    How hasn’t it appeared in the English-speaking world first?


  5. “Stay Safe.”

    UGGHHHH No thanks. I have at times replied to that chipper phrase, “Right! Safety third!” (Thanks, Mike Rowe.) Other times, just “have a great day,” or if I’m feeling confrontational, “no, thanks.”


    1. I was going to say that as well, I can’t stand it. I don’t like the tacit assumption that I also live my life towering in fear for my ‘safety’.


  6. As Hayek argued in Road to Serfdom, using war language allows the government to violate civil liberties. No sensible person is going to allow the public to be placed in physical danger over something abstract like freedom of expression. During a war, public opposition is not free speech but is treason. Particularly relevant in this discussion of vaccines is the infamous Buck vs. Bell case where the Supreme Court argued that, just as we draft people in a time of war and force people to take vaccines, the government can forcibly sterilize people if they are deemed to be of below-average intelligence.


    1. // the government can forcibly sterilize people if they are deemed to be of below-average intelligence.


      “Below-average” roughly means half the population in math.

      If they used this expression in the court case, I start wondering whether they were not in ‘allowed to sterilize’ group too.


      1. Read the Adam Cohen book on the Buck case. Some of the actual terms, if I recall, were “feeble-minded” and “moron.” Moron used to have a very technical meaning. From the eugenics perspective, there was this threat to society from female “morons.” They were smart enough to pass for normal but would sleep with lots of men, get pregnant, produce more morons, who would go on to have lots more extra-marital sex, and bring the national IQ down.
        Part of the tragedy of Carrie Buck was that she was perfectly normal. Her foster family was trying to cover up the fact that she was raped by a relative.


        1. Where I live, about 20 years ago, the government paid women a few thousand dollars per birth as a once off payment or gift. Since it was a pittance that would be spent in the first couple of months after having a baby, only a moron would get pregnant for the sake of a tiny amount of money.

          Immediately after the policy, groups of late teenage girls and women would go to what they called “pregnancy parties” so as to get pregnant for the sake of the payments.

          Now, 20 or so years later, the children of these morons are in and out of jail, breaking into houses, taking & selling drugs, causing general havoc and no end of pain for the whole society.


          1. The idea of paying for pregnancy does nothing but grow the criminal underclass. Normal women don’t get pregnant for money. Every time this is tried, the result is disastrous. But try explaining this to the idiots in my part of the world.


          2. // Where I live, about 20 years ago, the government paid women a few thousand dollars per birth as a once off payment or gift.

            Was it in USA? Or in some country in FSU?


  7. I don’t mind any of the following words per say but I do mind how “isolation”, “quarantine”, and “lockdown” are used interchangeably, obfuscating not just their meanings but also leading to tangible inconveniences to everyone involved.


  8. “Heroes” has lost all meaning for me. It now means nothing more than “people who do the job they agreed to do and won’t lose their life savings and homes because the government won’t force them to stay home from work.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The new e-mail greeting (in academia at least) du jour:
    “I hope this e-mail finds you safe and healthy”.
    Honestly, I think I’m going to start replying with “No, actually I am not safe. My risk of suffering an incapacitating mental breakdown because of forced isolation is orders of magnitude higher than my risk of suffering any serious complications from Covid ever was. But hey, whatever helps you with your virtue-signalling.”
    “Caring” and “looking out” “for each other” is also an interesting one – particularly as said caring types immediately change the topic if you suggest that they should care too about families losing their livelihoods, children being denied education, people struggling with substance abuse or suicidal thoughts. Or at worse they’ll say it’s all right wing propaganda.


  10. The phrases “recent positive” and “feel better.”

    I’m in the process of figuring out a) if I really need a swab before my PFT because it’s less than 90 days from my initial positive and b) what will happen if for some reason I throw a false positive. All the people calling me to ask very concerned questions about the state of my health always end their messages with “feel better!”

    For some reason it always makes me think they think I’m still out sick. When I’ve been back at work for a month and a half. I do feel better, I really do. I just have some very specific long-term complications.


    1. Respectfully, that is irrelevant. What we were talking about was, essentially, whether or not governments could do something to stop the spread of the virus. The Melbourne example proved that governments could.

      Anyway without condoning anything, this is Australia we are talking about. It’s hardly a bastion of human rights, and is a place where the drinking water of indigenous people is routinely knowingly contaminated with heavy metals, and where police commissioners attempt to pervert the course of justice, and where extremely senior politicians are found to be pedophiles followed by files being suppressed for 99 years etc.


      1. “whether or not governments could do something to stop the spread of the virus. The Melbourne example proved that governments could”

        So if governments are only ruthless enough and disregard citizens’ rights enough then they can achieve their goals? No sale.
        In addition to all the other horrible features of Australia that you mentioned, they’ve largely been purchased by the Chinese Communist Party… so…. double no sale.
        I’d ten times rather take my chances with the virus (observing reasonable caution) than accept living under a government that’s copying the Chinese Communist Party.


        1. “So if governments are only ruthless enough and disregard citizens’ rights enough then they can achieve their goals? No sale.”

          The way I see it, human rights are equal to human responsibilities. So, if the responsibility of the human being is to stay home for a few weeks so as to stop the spread of contagion, then they must exercise their responsibility and stay home voluntarily. If they act contrary to their right/responsibility and go out so as to prolong the spread of contagion, then they have voided their right in the same instant that they disregarded their responsibility.

          That being said, the government has rights/responsibilities too, and should ensure that people have their needs met during that period, which includes suspending such things as mortgages and providing food should it be needed.

          Where you and I come into agreement that it is no sale is when the individual has to uphold their right/responsibility and the state none.

          Also the CCP hasn’t purchased Australia. It has bought several factions of most main parties and a fraction of the land held by, say, Japan or Germany, but the thing with Australian politicians is that they’re very cheap and can be replaced, along with the influence of the CCP, quite easily. It’s just that no one wants to because most nations are feeding on the wealth of Australia ot their hearts content, and tend to stay out of each others way.


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