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What is the official name of the novel coronavirus?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to name the disease caused by the novel coronavirus “COVID-19” and refers to the virus that causes it as the “COVID-19 virus.” CO for corona, VI for virus, D for disease, and 19 for the year the outbreak was first recognized, late in 2019. Separately, the Coronavirus Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses has named the new virus severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2; however, this name has generated controversy in the public health and infectious disease community. Some feel the name could lead to confusion with the disease SARS, which is caused by a related, but distinct, type of coronavirus.

Drafted: 10 March 2020

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