Over the past year we’ve had to learn a baffling new language.
The politicians, scientists and specialist correspondents seem to take their cue from Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking-Glass.
Words mean whatever they want them to mean.
If you struggle to tell your pandemics from your pangolins, and you don’t know your R-rate from your elbow bump, this column has compiled a comprehensive A-Z guide to
If you struggle to tell your pandemics from your pangolins, and you don’t know your R-rate from your elbow bump, this column has compiled a comprehensive A-Z guide to Covid-19
A is for AstraZeneca; Antibodies; Antigens; Anti-vaxxers; Airborne Transmission; Air Bridge; At Pace, politician-speak for what we used to call ‘quickly’.
B for Barnard Castle; BioNTech; Bio-surveillance; Baked In; Bubble; Brazilian Variant; Bookshelves, Zoom for the use of.
C for Covid-19; Coronavirus; Covidiots; Cluster; Cohort; Contact Tracing; Cobra; Circuit Breaker, aka another bloody lockdown.
D for Data Not Dates; Denier, Covid; Distancing, Social; Drones, launched by police to spy on dog walkers in remote areas.
E for Essential, as in shops; Efficacy; Elbow Bumping; Eat Out To Help Out, seemed like a good idea at the time.
‘A is for AstraZeneca’: Health official pictured drawing a dose of the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine
F for Furlough; Face Coverings; False Positives; False Negatives; Flatten The Curve; Following The Science; Front-Facing, jargon for staff who come into contact with the public — as opposed to ministers, who have spent the past year watching their own backs.
G for Game Changer; Genome Sequencing; Graphs Of Death, wheeled out at every press conference to scare everyone into staying indoors indefinitely.
H for Herd Immunity; Hancock, Matt; Hands, Face, Space; Heroes, Clap For Our NHS (see also Saucepans).
I is for ICU; Incubation Period; Isolation, Self, sitting at home eating Hobnobs and watching daytime TV. (See also Furlough and WFH).
J for Journey, is yours really necessary? JCVI (nope, me neither).
K for Key Worker; Kent Variant; Ketamine, Covid for the treatment of. Are you kidding?
‘B for Barnard Castle’: The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle in County Durham pictured
L for Lockdown; Let Rip, anyone who questions lockdown is falsely accused of wanting to ‘let the virus rip’; LTNs (Low Traffic Neighbourhoods), turning roads into crazy golf courses in the name of stopping the spread of Covid; Legover, Professor (see also Super Spreader).
M for Masks; Mortality Rate; Misinformation; Microsoft Teams; MHRA (see also JCVI).
N for New Normal; Nightingale Hospitals; Non-Essential, as in hairdressers, gyms, pubs etc; No Jab No Job; NEU teaching union, short for No Education Under Any Circumstances, Ever.
O for Old Normal, forget it. We’ll still be social distancing and wearing masks five years from now.
P for Pangolin; Pandemic; Pasty; Pizza Slice; PHE, aka Public Health England; PPE; PCR, not a clue (see also JCVI and MHRA).
‘C is for Covidiots’: People flocked in their hundreds to enjoy the hot weather at Bournemouth beach in Dorset last summer
Q for Quarantine, ie: paying £1,700 for the privilege of being banged up in a crappy airport hotel for ten days; Quarantini, alcoholic beverage for getting off your head while quarantining, self-isolating, furloughing, WFH etc.
R for Rule of Six; R-rate; Red List; Rollout; Rabbit Hole; Roadmap, what we used to call a ‘plan’.
S for Squash The Sombrero; Sage; Staycation; Social Distancing; Spike; Stay Alert; Shielding; Substantial Meal; Scotch Egg (see also Pasty and Pizza Slice); Saucepans, for the banging of on Clap For Heroes Night; Super Spreader (see also government adviser Professor Legover, caught indulging in non Covid-compliant sombrero-squashing with his married lover); Science, which has come up with a brilliant range of vaccines ‘at pace’ and should not be confused with . . .
T for The Science, a series of scaremongering projections based on guesswork, frequently proved horribly wrong yet followed religiously by frightened, backside-covering ministers as an excuse to impose ever harsher lockdowns and destroy the economy (see also Graphs Of Death); Two Ronnies of Doom (see Vallance and Whitty); Tiers; Two-Metre Rule; Test and Trace, whatever happened to that?
U for Unprecedented use of the word Unprecedented; also Underlying Conditions; Unemployment, heading for five million.
V for Van-Tam, Jonathan; Viral Load; Vaccines; Vaccine Passports; Vulnerable; Ventilators; Vallance, Patrick (‘and it’s goodnight from me’).
W for Wuhan; Wet Markets; World-leading; Waves (see also Spikes); Whack-a-Mole; WFH (Working From Home, see also Isolation, Self and Furlough); Whitty, Chris (‘and it’s goodnight from him’).
X for XR, aka Extinction Rebellion, who when they weren’t burrowing beneath the Euston Road spent lockdown successfully convincing Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to introduce LTNs (see elsewhere) and cycle lanes, bringing chaos to Britain’s roads.
Y for YOU MUST Stay Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives — Or Else; also You’re All Going To DIE!
Z for Zoom; Zeneca, Astra; Zero-Covid, unattainable goal behind destroying the economy by keeping Britain in lockdown for another four months, despite ‘world-leading’ vaccine rollout; ZZZZZZ, is there much more of this madness…?