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A Gen Z’s guide to COVID-19 terms


The COVID-19 outbreak has affected everyone’s lives across the globe. Since this epidemic began, it has disrupted work cycles, social interactions, and day-to-day living in general. We have begun panic buying and keeping on a lookout for people infected in our area. It’s safe to say that we are living in a state of global disarray. Some folks are even calling it the next plague.

So how do young people like us get by in this crazy world? Let’s start by educating ourselves with some terms used around this epidemic.

It will be useful for young people trying to navigate their new lives in a health bubble and for older folks who want to relate to us “youths” when it comes to understanding this virus.

Yes, we have released our annual Gen Z glossary guide. But with terms like social distancing, the kits, and handwashing jingles at place, we decided that it’s time to create a subsection of this glossary dedicated to COVID-19. It will be useful for young people trying to navigate their new lives in a health bubble and for older folks who want to relate to us “youths” when it comes to understanding this virus.

Get your facemasks on for our false sense of security—and let’s begin:

TikTok (noun) \ ˈtik-ˈtäk, -ˌtäk \

A social media application, also known as Twitter’s Vine, where boomers try to relate to the youth by creating handwashing jingles while zoomers vent their anxiety about the rising epidemic. See also: memes.

Social distancing (noun/verb) \ˈsō-shəl ˈdi-stən(t)s\

A phrase used by the bourgeois to protect themselves from the epidemic, while us working-class suffer from the inevitability of social situations in our daily lives like traffic jams, commuting, and the like.

Handwashing jingles (noun) \ˈhand-ˌwȯ-shiŋ ˈjiŋ-gəl\

Using pop culture to educate citizens on proper handwashing techniques. Apart from shielding us from germs, it is also used as a way to distract the public on how grave the situation of this epidemic really is. Quoting “The Simpsons’” Marge Simpson: “At times like these, all you can do is laugh (and wash your hands to My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade.”

Face masks (noun) \ ˈfās ˈmask\

Some claim it can protect us from COVID-19, most experts say it only needs to be used if you are in contact with a COVID-19 patient. It’s better to be safe than sorry. And like handwashing, it is the only thing we can do to give ourselves a false sense of security. But please, please, please—stop hoarding them.

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Leaves (verb) /lēv/

The mandatory benefit of every worker diminishes due to a pandemic you cannot control. We wish capitalism can take a break. But I guess, workers like us don’t sleep and greed loves the facade of work-life balance.

The kit (noun) /T͟Hē kit/

A poetry piece uttered by President Duterte during his presscon regarding COVID-19. Quoting the poet himself, “I think that sabi ko nga in every epoch, maybe meron nung una bubonic plague. Mga gago ang tao n’on kaya tamang-tama lang. Eh the kit, is the kit, meron namang lumalabas pa.” The kit is the kit and the liar is the peyk.

Bubonic plague (noun) /byo͞oˌbänik ˈplāɡ/

The most common form of plague amongst humans. Also, a buzz word tossed around by boomers and the president/poet who are unsure how to keep public panic at bay.

Government updates (noun) /ˈɡəvər(n)məntˌəpˈdāt,ˈəpˌdāt/

An announcement that occurs after everyone already manages to get social media update regarding the COVID epidemic. It can also be defined as the government’s bare minimum effort to hide the fact that the Administration slashed P 10 million off the funding for health services this 2020.

Read more: If you see a COVID-19 testing kit, thank these scientists from UP

Telegram group (noun) /ˈteləˌɡram ɡro͞op/

A platform where people can get actual real-time updates on COVID. We shouldn’t rely on social media in this trying time, but here we are. Here we all damn are.

Working class (noun) /ˈwərkiNG ˈˌklas/

The ones who are actually suffering from this epidemic. Our immune system is questionable and so is our ability to afford healthcare. We are the ones who can’t do ‘social distancing’ because we are trapped in situations where social interactions are mandatory, like commuting, grocery shopping, and the like. People might argue that we are merely complaining, but it’s undeniable that COVID-19 is a class problem as well as a global crisis.

Art by Rogin Losa



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