This year, I came across two words that I have previously never used or heard in mainstream conversation. You guessed it – Asymptomatic and Comorbidity. Let’s say the usage went ‘viral’!
A day or two after an official, somewhere in the world, talked about comorbidities, it was the theme in office blocks nearby. The deliberations seemed intense but relaxed. Invariably someone would mention that the young were largely unaffected and the ones who lost lives probably because of comorbidities. The implication of being younger and not having the virus probably got many people a bit relaxed about the impact. This scenario possibly played out in other parts of the world as well.
Not much later the other term appeared on my horizon. Asymptomatic got mentioned in the context of people who tested positive. Now both words have specific meanings in a professional/medical context. But for a lot of people, these are new words with virtually no background before. Further, the usage of these words seemed to have gone up almost in a similar pattern. The Google Trends link is here .
It is suboptimal messaging that people are searching for the meaning of words. Globally, more straightforward phrases in communication would have been more impactful. A lot of people would understand that the virus has no symptoms initially and that preexisting health conditions of any type increase risks for any patient. Most importantly, people would not need to refer to dictionaries.
After all, wash your hands is a lot more actionable and easier to understand.