German Language Blog

Learn About It In German: Coronavirus Posted by on Mar 11, 2020 in Language

Guten Tag! Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll be aware of the coronavirus. Governments worldwide have released information about the coronavirus and what everyone can do to stop it from spreading. In this post I’ll write that information, using German words and phrases related to the subject, so you can learn some ‘topical’ German vocabulary. At the end of this post there will be a full vocabulary list with all the words used in the text, along with their genders.

Coronavirus – Was ist das? (What is that?)

Image: Pixabay

The coronavirus (it is also called this in German), or COVID-19, is a new Krankheit (illness) that affects your Lungen (lungs) and Atemwege (airways).

The problem is that, as this is a new Krankheit (illness), there is currently no Heilmittel (remedy/cure) for it. And, as it is a Virus (virus), Antibiotika (antibiotics) won’t help. Any treatment given will help ease the Symptome (symptoms) of the illness, but your body will have to fight it itself. However, not everyone has a good enough Immunsystem (immune system) to be able to do that, so many people have died from the virus. On March 10th, the Zahl der Todesopfer (death toll) from the coronavirus stood at 4,011 people worldwide. Scientists are working on developing an Impstoff (vaccine) for the virus, but when this will be available is as yet unclear. However, it is worth noting that many who have contracted the virus, have recovered.

How can I stop Coronavirus from spreading?

Here are some Vorsichtsmaßnahmen (precautions) you should take:

Image: Pixabay

Hände gründlich waschen – Wash your hands thoroughly. It is recommended to wash with antibakterielle Seife (antibacterial soap) and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

Niesen und husten (sneezing and coughing) – Cover your Mund (mouth) and Nase (nose) with a Taschentuch (tissue) or your sleeve when you sneeze or cough. Don’t use your hands.

Put used Taschentücher (tissues) in the Mülleimer (bin) straight away

Avoid contact with people who may have the Krankheit (illness). It is also recommended not to shake hands with people, as this encourages the spread of Keime (germs). Recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel held out her hand to Horst Seehofer in a meeting, but he refused to shake her hand for this reason. They were both seen laughing about it and apparently she said it was the “right thing to do”!

Wear a Mundschutz (mask)



In Germany there are currently (as of March 10th) 1139 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 2 fatalities. The first person in Germany to contract the coronavirus was a 33 year-old man from Starnberg, near Munich. It is said he contracted it from a Chinese colleague who was visiting from Shanghai. The virus has since spread to the rest of the country, with the majority of states reporting confirmed cases.

The German health minister has commented that Germany is ‘gut vorbereitet’ (well prepared) to deal with the virus.

Click here for a German-language article and video (with text) that has some advice.

If your listening skills are advanced enough, you might like to listen to this German-language video, titled “Coronavirus in Germany: A reason to panic?”:

Vocabulary from the text

Die Krankheit – illness

Die Lunge(n) – lung(s)

Die Atemwege – airways

Das Heilmittel – remedy/cure

Der Virus – virus

Die Antibiotika – antibiotics

Die Symptome – symptoms

Die Zahl der Todesopfer – death toll

Das Immunsystem – immune system

Der Impstoff – vaccine

Die Vorsichtsmaßnahmen – precautions

Hände gründlich waschen – wash your hands thoroughly

niesen – to sneeze/sneezing

husten – to cough/coughing

Der Mund – mouth

Die Nase – nose

Das Taschentuch – tissue

Der Mülleimer – rubbish bin

Die Keime – germs

Der Mundschutz – face mask/face guard

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.


  1. Huntly Shelton:

    Danke. Das war ganz interessant.