An evolving glossary for the times
Computer graphics by Igan D’bayan

An evolving glossary for the times

KRIPOTKIN - Alfred A. Yuson (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2020 - 12:00am

(Part two)

Last column, we covered A to I, from “alcohol” to “infodemic.” We continue with our list of freshly popular catchwords and phrases.

Infrared meter — Now a familiar device that’s brandished at subdivision gates, checkpoints and entrances to venues where a number of people assemble. Aimed at a forehead, this digital thermometer has come a long way from the thin glass tube that used to target an anus or armpit for taking one’s temperature.

Healthcare workers — Everyone involved in medical institutions, from doctors to nurses, attendants, ambulance drivers, clinical researchers. The primus inter pares among frontliners, and now hailed as modern-day heroes worldwide, to whom songs are sung and tributes of applause are given, rightfully so.

Hydroxychloroquine — A controversial drug promoted by Donald Trump, until health experts questioned its effectivity and safety, albeit some doctors continue to prescribe it for COVID-19 patients. 

Immunocompromised — Having an impaired or weakened immune system.

Intubation — Inserting a tube into an airway, for a patient to be placed on a ventilator for assistance in breathing.

Laging Handa — One of the numerous slogans or battlecries utilized by the administration, making us recall our Boy Scout days.

Lockdown — Often used to mean a community quarantine. Technically, a lockdown entails having to provide all essentials to an entire community that is prohibited to go out of their residences for any reason, except for emergencies.

Mandatory disclosure — Anyone with symptoms or who may have had contact with a COVID-19-positive patient has to make this known to health authorities and sometimes LGU officials, with the understanding that it is not to be made public.

Misting — Applying disinfectants with a sprayer, so that it is also simply called spraying. Actress Angel Locsin was thanked by DOH for her donations of spraying tents, although it was clarified that their use should be limited to health workers in PPEs, as it might just do more harm to other people. Spraying underneath vehicles continues to be practiced before entry to gated private villages.

Mitigation — Taking measures to reduce health risks, currently manifested as simple requirements like wearing masks, social distancing, community quarantine, and bans on public assemblies.

Negative (as against positive) — Has ironically connoted welcome acceptance when it pertains to testing for the virus.

New normal — The composition of current features of living and working while coping with the virus, adaptation to which is still similarly evolving.

Novel Coronavirus — The term that identified the darned monster, before the more technical COVID-19 virus began to be applied.  

Obedience, blind — What the DDS and their cult headman demand of all Filipinos, in utter disregard of rational faculties and the random level of trust in our leaders’ competence.

PPE or personal protective equipment — Mandatory wear to protect healthcare workers, a continuing lack of which has led to generous private donations. By the by, a grammar Nazi has pointed out that it’s wrong to pluralize the acronym by simply adding a lower-case “s,” since the word “equipment” isn’t pluralized by doing the same. Good point. So call it PPE units.

PUI and PUM — The first terms used (as suggested by WHO) to classify possible virus carriers, for Persons Under Investigation and Persons Under Monitoring, respectively, with the first group requiring hospital admission. But in mid-April, the DOH abandoned these acronyms, reclassifying the former PUIs as “suspect,” “probable” or “confirmed,” while throwing out the usually asymptomatic PUMs, on the grounds that “Because of evidence of local and community transmission in the country, its residents are assumed to have been exposed to the infection.” 

Quarantine — What drives us up the walls, understandably. What started out as a Community Quarantine became an ECQ all over Luzon, but which will soon be relaxed in certain areas as a GCQ or General Community Quarantine. Which may then lead to a Seniors’ Revolt, if the asinine proposal to ground everyone over 60 is adopted.

Quarantine Pass — Given by certain cities on a one-person-per-household basis to allow for the procurement of essential needs. Currently giving way to a PLP or Permit to Leave Premises, which will limit holders to twice-a-week forays for essentials, as part of color-coded barangays. 

Social Amelioration Fund or SAF — Government funds ideally made available to the less-privileged, in cash and kind. Unfortunately, varying lists of community residents lead to inequitable distribution. 

Social distancing — Keeping away from other people outside one’s household, recently adjusted to a recommended two meters. Language purists have expressed preference for the term “physical distancing.” But we all know what either means.

Swab — That reportedly awful procedure when something is thrust into one’s throat or nasal passage to detect respiratory viruses.  

Testing — Nothing to do with Mike or Mic. A crucial mitigation protocol that helps determine readiness for the relaxation of quarantine features. Test kits are forever in short supply. Rapid antibody test kits are cheap and give quick results, but these are far from definitive, compared to the PCR or polymerase chain reaction test kits or the RT-PCR (for Real Time) machines. Many clamor for mass testing, but practicality suggests targeted testing, or “smart testing” — given our resources and population. With smart testing, those tested positive will be backtracked through their last two weeks of close interaction with anyone, who will then also be tested, asymptomatic or not, for consequent self-quarantine or isolation. This is also called “contact tracing,” a complex procedure that may help stop “chains of transmission.”

Virtual presser — A press conference absent media, who will have to wait together with the viewing public for the edited video to start screening, often very close to midnight.

Vulnerable population — Practically all of us, as long as all the uncertainty remains.

Webinar — An awful-sounding term for Web conferencing, taking off from “seminar.”

Wehealaswang — A counter slogan, as a satirical take on one of government’s numerous battlecries.

Window hours — Another asinine protocol adopted by certain LGUs, limiting hours for grocery or market shopping, until they eventually realized that it resulted in larger assemblies and long lines, so that the regulation was done away with. 

Work from home (WFH) — Part of the new normal, and likely to stay for some or all time.

Zoom — How netizens conquer social distancing, yet occasionally at the risk of delicate images breaking into the digital palaver, thanks to asswipes with nothing better to do than harass other people. Also controversial for reported privacy issues, and now facing competition from rivals, including Facebook. Ta-dan!

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