Spanish Language Blog

A Practical Guide to the Coronavirus Pandemic in Spanish Posted by on Apr 30, 2020 in Spanish Vocabulary, Uncategorized

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If you have been reading some of my previous posts, you may be familiar with the most popular newspapers in Spanish and practiced your language skills by checking them daily.

Another thing you have surely noticed is that coronavirus has been the main subject on all media since months. In this post, you will find Spanish vocabulary to better understand all the current events.

Let’s start by the word coronavirus. In Spanish, this word is a masculine noun made of two words: corona (crown), derived from Latin, and virus (virus). It received its name from the crown-like structures observed on the virus’s surface.

Keep in mind that coronavirus remains the same in both singular and plural:

El coronavirus es un virus contagioso (Coronavirus is a contagious virus).

Los coronavirus son objeto de numerosos estudios (Coronaviruses are the main subject of numerous studies).

What follows is the ever-growing vocabulary list in everybody’s mouths today all around the globe:

  • Aislamiento obligatorio: Mandatory isolation.


  • Aislamiento preventivo: Preventative isolation.


  • Aplanar la curva: To flatten the curve.


  • Asintomático/a: Adjective referring to a person who shows no symptoms. The English equivalent is “asymptomatic”.


  • Autoaislamiento: Self-isolation.


  • Brote: Refers to the outbreak of a particular disease.


  • Cuarentena: Quarantine.


  • Desinfectar: To sanitize.


  • Distanciamiento social: Social distancing.


  • Estar encerrado en casa: To be locked down at home.


  • Enfermedad transmisible/contagiosa: A communicable/contagious disease.


  • Epicentro: Epicenter. In this case, it refers to the epicenter of the outbreak.


  • Epidemia: Epidemic.


  • Epidemiólogo: Epidemiologist, a person who studies diseases.


  • Escudo/protector facial: A facial shield.


  • Gel antibacterial: Sanitizing gel. It is worth mentioning that alcohol en gel, gel alcoholizado and even desinfectante (de manos) are synonyms.


  • Infectólogo: Infectologist, a specialist in infectious diseases.


  • Ingresados: Refers to people who have been admitted into hospitals.


  • Inmune: Immune.


  • Inmunidad: Immunity.


  • Inmunidad de rebaño: Flock or herd immunity.


  • Jabón antibacterial: Antibacterial soap.


  • Levantar la cuarentena: To lift the quarantine.


  • Mantener la distancia social: To keep the social distance.


  • Mascarilla: A protective face mask used to cover the mouth and the nose. It is also known as tapabocas or barbijo.


  • Mortífero: Deadly.


  • Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS): Official name for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Spanish.


  • Pandemia: Pandemic.


  • Poner en cuarentena: To quarantine.


  • Portador de una enfermedad: Carrier of a disease.


  • Propagación: The spreading of something, in this case, of a disease. The word diseminación can also be used in this context.


  • Recuperarse: To recover from an illness. Reponerse y curarse are also widely used.


  • Resurgimiento: The resurgence of something, like a disease.


  • Recaída: A relapse. This noun is often used with the verb sufrir (to suffer).


  • Reabrir un país: To reopen a country, referring to its borders.


  • Respirador: Respirator. Also used often in reference to ventilators.


  • Sensación de falta de aire: Shortness of breath.


  • Toser en el lado interior del brazo: To cough on the inside surface of one’s arm.


  • Toque de queda: A curfew.


  • Trabajador de la salud: Health care worker.


  • Transmisión secundaria: Person-to-person transmission.


  • Unidad de cuidados intensivos: Intensive care unit.


  • Vacuna: Vaccine.


  • Ventilador: Ventilator, specifically the machine that helps a patient breathe.


  • Virólogo: Virologist, a person who studies viruses.


Please, take every precaution to keep you safe during these difficult times, and don’t forget to wash your hands!

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About the Author: Anais

Hello, Spanish learners! My name's Anais. I'm a Venezuelan freelance translator living in Argentina. I'm a culture and language freak and such a big foodie! I'm thrilled to share my language and culture with all of you and, why not?, some recipes of our traditional delights, too. Stay tuned, guys! :-)


  1. Al Cantwell:

    The word contingencia is seen a lot in Mexico in relation to COVID-19 with the sense of risk.