Analogies. They’re a great way of explaining unfamiliar or complex words and phrases. Since COVID-19 is all over the news and social media, we thought we’d create COVID-ictionary. A dictionary that uses analogies to demystify words or phrases associated with COVID-19.

So now you’ll better understand how a virus (it’s like a matchstick) can cause a pandemic (it’s like wildfire).

Disease reservoir: It’s like a reservoir of water.

Like water being stored in a reservoir, a disease reservoir refers to somewhere that infectious agents can survive, other than humans. This can be in animals or the environment.

Incubation period: It’s like the calm before a storm.

This is the period of time between being exposed to an infectious disease and developing symptoms.

Social distancing: It’s like removing a domino from a chain of dominoes.

One domino can stop a chain from collapsing. Think of yourself as a domino. By working from home and staying clear of schools and gatherings of people (small or large), you’re removing yourself from a chain of dominoes—slowing down the spread of the virus.

Self-isolation: It’s like enjoying a lot of me-time but also doing the right thing.

You stay inside your own home and avoid contact with other people, including those you live with (where possible), to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Transmission: It’s like a game of tag.

From one person to another, or one population to another, this is how the virus spreads.

Viral load: It’s like counting the number of enemy soldiers that have breached your frontline.

The viruses are enemy soldiers, and the viral load is a measure of how many or how few enemy soldiers are present in your body when you’re infected.