The Italian vocab you need to understand the coronavirus crisis

The Italian vocab you need to understand the coronavirus crisis
A public health notice in Casalpusterlengo, Lombardy. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
Struggling to keep up with the latest coronavirus news in Italy? Here are the words you need to know.

The basics

Let's start with an easy one: 'coronavirus' in Italian is simply il coronavirus

The scientific name for the new virus is the same in every language: Covid-19.

VIDEO: Five key questions about the coronavirus answered

epidemia – epidemic 

pandemia – pandemic

emergenza – emergency

trasmissione – transmission

trasmissione secondaria – person-to-person transmission

focolaio – hotspot, site with multiple cases of infection


Here are the words you'll need to understand the latest stats on the outbreak.

positivo – positive

negativo – negative

contagiato – infected

guarito – recovered

morto, deceduto – dead

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: The everyday precautions to take if you're in Italy

Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP


ricoverato con sintomi – hospitalized with symptoms

terapia intensiva – intensive care

isolamento domiciliare – self-isolation

quarantena – quarantine


controllo – test

tampone – swab, also used to mean test

misure di contenimento – containment measures


tosse – coughing 

febbre – fever

difficoltà respiratorie – difficulty breathing

For more information about precautions to take against the coronavirus and what to do if you suspect you have it, see our complete guide.

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