The World Health Organization on Monday proposed an official name for the illness caused by new coronavirus: COVID-19. The acronym stands for coronavirus disease 2019, as the illness was first detected toward the end of last year.
The director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that the new name makes no reference to any of the people, places or animals associated with the coronavirus. The goal was to avoid stigma.
Under international guidelines, the W.H.O. “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,” he said on Twitter.ADVERTISEMENT
The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic is continuing to climb, Chinese officials said on Tuesday. Dr. Tedros said that 1,017 people had died from the coronavirus. Most of the deaths occurred in Hubei Province.Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak The virus has sickened more than 43,100 people in China and 24 other countries.
The number of confirmed infections in China also grew, to at least 42,700 from about 40,000 a day earlier. Most of the infections are in Hubei, though the daily tally of new cases there fell compared with previous days.
Hubei recorded 2,097 new infections on Monday, compared with 2,618 a day earlier.
There are 393 COVID-19 cases abroad, in a total of 24 countries.
“With 99 percent of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world,” Dr. Tedros said.