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Although it may not be a good news topic, today we will talk a little about nCov 2019, the corona virus, that’s affecting so many people around the world. Although the topic is interesting, it’s not the topics subject that matters most. Listening to English language sounds, listening to everyday English vocabulary and English phrases training your brain so it can automatically recognise words without translation, the start and end of English sentences, grammar, intonation and tone. You are learning all these things and more every time you listen to one of our English lessons.
Corona Spelt Wuhan Pandemic
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There are lots of items in the news at the moment, but one story which I’m sure we’re all watching is the one about the Novel Corona Virus. I’m certainly watching the news to see what is happening in China – and it looks really bad over there. And of course, there are lots cases of the illness in other countries too now. It’s difficult to judge in these situations – at what point do we take precautions?
When we say in English ‘take precautions’, the word precaution is spelt ‘P-R-E-C-A-U-T-I-O-N’ and a precaution is an action you take to prevent, to stop something from happening. So what precautions can we take? I suppose the question that most people have - how serious is the Novel Corona Virus outbreak and is it likely to affect me? How do we prevent becoming infected, if the virus becomes more widespread?
A word first about the name of the virus – at least in English speaking countries it’s known as the Novel Corona Virus, and I’m sure its name is similar in your language too. So Corona – C-O-R-O-N-A – is a Latin word, meaning ‘crown’. And crown is spelt C-R-O-W-N – and it’s what a king or queen would wear on their head. The English word ‘coronation’ means when a king or queen is crowned – for example Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation was in 1952 - and you can see in this word, the Latin word ‘corona’. So it’s called the Corona Virus, because under a microscope, the virus looks like a crown. Notice also the official name is the ‘Novel Corona Virus.’
This word ‘novel’ means new, in the sense that we haven’t seen it before. So this virus is unpredictable – we don’t know quite what’s going to happen. There aren’t many statistics about it. If you go searching online, you can find lots of experts posting videos, discussing the virus. An epidemic, which is the word that’s being used, E-P-I-D-E-M-I-C means an illness that’s spreading fast, through a great number of people. Novel Corona Virus has not yet been declared a pandemic – but this may still happen. A pandemic, P-A-N-D-E-M-I-C, is when an illness has spread wide geographically, when it’s affecting people in lots of countries.
A graphic which shows what a pathogenic virus might look like under an electron microscope, it specifically shows a virus with a corona shape.
So how do the experts think that the virus is passed around? That’s what we need to know – so how to lessen your chances of catching it or passing it to someone else? The incubation period is the length of time between coming into contact with the virus and actually developing the illness. Not everybody does, of course. And incubation is spelt I-N-C-U-B-A-T-I-O-N. And with this virus, it’s thought that the incubation period could be as long as 14 days. And there may be quite a few days when someone doesn’t look or feel ill, but they can still pass the virus on without knowing it. So that’s one of the things which is making it difficult to contain.
How best to protect ourselves, just in case? It certainly doesn’t feel risky enough yet in UK, that we need to stay home and not go out, like the people in Wuhan. So what are the experts on viruses telling us – what can we do when we go out? Especially if we have to go to public places, where there are a lot of other people.
Well, the most important advice seems to be that frequent hand washing is a good idea. Apparently one of the possible concerns about this virus is that it may be able to live on surfaces outside of the human body for a time – it’s not yet know how long. So when you’re in public places, it’s a good idea to wash your hands afterwards, especially before you eat, or you touch your face. People sometimes carry what are called ‘hand sanitizers’ - so little bottles of alcohol-based hand cleaner, so that you can clean your hands when you’re out, even if you don’t have access to soap and water.
And also, given that for much of the Northern Hemisphere – that means the ‘top half of the world’ - it’s winter time, so it’s cold and flu season here anyway! Well, apparently one of the notable things about the Novel Corona Virus is that there’s rarely sneezing. The verb ‘to sneeze’ in English is when you go ‘Atishoo’ - and a runny nose means when you have a cold. So the information seems to be that symptoms are more likely to be a dry cough and a high temperature, above 37C. And so the virus seems likely to be transmitted through coughing or picking it up on your hands, then transferring it to your face, especially your mouth or your eyes.
The UK news today is full of the death from the Coronavirus of a doctor, Dr Li Wenliang, an opthalmologist – that’s an eye specialist, who was working in Wuhan at the centre of the outbreak. He noticed back in December that people were ill with a virus which resembled SARS – and Dr Li was discussing this with other doctors online, when the outbreak started. Apparently he was told to ‘stop spreading rumours’ and ‘ stop disturbing the social order’. The Chinese government have since apologised to Dr Li. He leaves behind a pregnant wife and one child.
Hopefully there will be better news in the coming weeks. It sounds as though most people – a very high percentage of people do recover from the illness. And there are still many more cases in China than anywhere else in the world. China is taking extreme measures to try to contain the outbreak, and this should begin to show an effect very soon. It would be good to see the numbers getting less, wouldn’t it, rather than increasing every day.
So wash your hands frequently when you go out. And surely it makes sense to keep your immune system as good as it can be? Your immune system, that’s I-M-M-U-N-E – that means the system in your body which fights illness, fights disease. So help your immune system. Don’t over work or allow yourself to become too stressed, eat fruit and vegetables, exercise regularly, don’t smoke – and try to sleep for enough hours every night. That’s good advice anyway, isn’t it?
If you want to make the most of the podcasts, let me just remind you of our free course, the Seven Rules of Adept English. This course is a listening course, full of spoken English material. The course is available on our website at adeptenglish.com – and you can sign up and download it immediately. It explains in perfectly spoken English, how to use the podcasts, how to use them in the best possible way to help your English language learning.
The secrets of learning a language, which are used by people who speak lots of languages – well, they’re all there in the course, waiting for you to discover them. So sign up today to the Seven Rules of Adept English. Spoken English is much easier if you use these methods. You can improve your spoken English conversation much more quickly using these methods. Listening to English spoken by an English speaker is the best for your learning.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.