The Meaning and History of ‘Namaste’
The Covid-19 is one of the newly coined words that have come into fashion. Since December 2019 there’s hardly been any day when this word does not pop up when watching TV or reading news.
COVID -19 : language impact factor
Let’s have a look at how words are coined and they gain currency in our communications. The acronym Covid-19 is made of corona+ virus+ disease + 2019. It is written in both ways – all capital or small letters with its entry in almost all leading dictionaries whether Oxford, Collins, Cambridge or others.
Covid-19 is an illness caused by a virus that looks like a corona meaning a crown. Hence, the picture of this tiny virus is represented by the shape of a crown.
The coronavirus is said to be a respiratory illness characterized by fever, cough and shortness of breath. It affects the victim’s lungs to the extent of death. However, the mortality rate is low and the recovery rate is high. On the contrary, the patients with comorbidity (multiple diseases and conditions) are at a higher risk.
Social distancing is yet another coinage doing the rounds given that the coronavirus has no sure cure. Social distancing is, however, synonymous with physical distancing. Hence, they are interchangeably used. Nevertheless, social distancing is for keeping oneself away from all social gatherings and contacts in person whereas physical distancing is to avoid a physical contact with any individual.
The Covid-19 is not only infectious but highly contagious.
It spreads quickly from human to human through air when a person sneezes and infects the near surrounding with the disease. One can infect many others. Nobody is too immunized to remain unaffected with this microorganism.
No handshake for healthsake is advisable in the current situation of infectivity. The term healthsake was coined by author Dr Birbal Jha, who had launched the Namaste March from New Delhi early this year intending to disseminate the message of how the Indian way of greeting is preventive to the pandemic coronavirus originating from Wuhan, China.
The Namaste culture is now global with representatives of different countries being seen putting their palms together and placing before their hearts instead of extending their hands to shake with others. Time has drawn the attention of people across the world towards the efficacy of Indian greetings and lifestyles in the wake of contamination. Greeting with namaste is so easy, says Donald Trump, US President. Shake off the Western greetings like hugging or kissing at least for now.
Mind you! Social distancing should not be misconstrued as a rejection of social interactions between individuals or different social groups. Rather, it is a tool to keep the virus at bay. God forbid! Mental distancing would be a catastrophe.
An outbreak is a sudden rise in the incidence of a disease (dis+ ease) whereas an epidemic is an outbreak of infection that spreads quickly in a particular area. An epidemic turns into a pandemic when it affects masses all over. Pan means all.
So who is a super spreader?
A patient who infects many others falling in his/her chain of contacts as witnessed in the state of Punjab. The contagious disease may take the shape of a community spread once it outbursts in a particular neighbourhood.
For both preventive and remedial approaches, contact tracing is required to put the contacts of the infected person in quarantine or isolation for some time, preferably 14 days. There is a bit difference in these two words- quarantine applies to those who have history of travel whereas isolation for those who merely came into contact. However, functionality is the same.
Many people choose self-isolation once contact tracing is done. Self-quarantine is a good preventive step to contain the spread. However, restricting the people to stay home and disallowing them access to many facilities and movement from their houses is a lockdown which the country has been placed on in the interest of masses.
Dr Birbal Jha is a noted author and the Managing Director of Lingua Multiservices Pvt Ltd having a popular trademark brand ‘British Lingua’. He is credited with having created a revolution in English training with the slogan ‘English for all’ in India.