Ebola, SARS, swine flu, MERS. With the reality that a previously unknown animal virus has started infecting people, the world faces a recurring question: What does one call it?
The pneumonia-causing virus, which is spreading rapidly in China and beyond, is currently being identified as 2019-nCoV, shorthand for a novel or new (i.e. “n”) coronavirus (CoV) that was first detected in 2019. The disease it causes doesn’t yet have a name, either, though Wuhan SARS or Wu Flu are among of the options being thrown around on the internet.