Contradictory information is often disseminated to the public, which is why a medically correct explanation is provided below.


The virus is called coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. In English, it’s known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. The number 2 refers to a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1 caused an outbreak in 2002–2004).

SARS-CoV-2 indicates that the coronavirus belongs to the SARS family of diseases and that of CoV (coronavirus). Coronaviruses belong to the family of Coronaviridae.

SARS-CoV-2 can be added to the word coronavirus because there are other coronaviruses (including coronaviruses that cause seasonal colds) in addition to SARS-CoV-2.

It is important to follow the uppercase and lowercase letters.


It is a lower respiratory disease caused by coronavirus droplets. In English, it’s known as Corona Virus Disease. The number 19 symbolises the registration of the first case in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

The average incubation period of the disease is 2–14 days. However, in many cases, the symptoms do not appear or last significantly longer. The most common symptoms include sore throat, runny nose, fever and difficulty breathing.

In March 2020, the WHO declared a global COVID-19 pandemic.

What is tested

The sample is taken from a person’s upper respiratory tract (less frequently from elsewhere). It is then analysed in the laboratory for the presence of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

If the person tests positive, they will be diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease.

More information about testing methods is available HERE.

It is medically incorrect to say:

  1. COVID-19 tests
  2. Detected x number of COVID-19 positives (correct: Detected x number of coronavirus positives or x number of people were diagnosed with COVID-19)
  3. The spread of COVID-19: we can still talk about the spread of the disease
  4. Coronavirus COVID-19 (cannot use the virus and the disease together)

It is recommended to say:

  1. I had my coronavirus sample taken
  2. Test for coronavirus or test for SARS-CoV-2 or test for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
  3. Detected x number of coronavirus positives or x number of people were diagnosed with COVID-19
  4. Spread of coronavirus or spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Estonia

The 15/2 rule

The virus mainly spreads through droplets from the respiratory tract and secondarily through surfaces and air, especially in closed, humid rooms. Therefore, it is vital to avoid crowded indoor settings, keep a safe distance from others, and wash and disinfect hands.

According to scientific sources, contact with a coronavirus carrier for more than 15 minutes and less than 2 metres away puts you in risk of contracting the virus.


World Health Organisation
Medical journal Eesti Arst, K. Subi, August 2004 “SARS — a New Emerging Viral Infection”
Forbes, A. Knapp: “The Secret History of The First Coronaviruses”, April 11, 2020