COVID-19 Writing Tips

COVID-19 brought huge changes to the way we live, do business, deal with cybersecurity, handle workers' compensation claims — and our language. 

The Associated Press (AP) stylebook created a new topical section around the terms that says "Because COVID-19 is the name of the disease, not the virus, it is not accurate to write "a new virus called COVID-19" and not to abbreviate its name to COVID or Covid even in headlines. The guide adds, "Also incorrect are usages such as COVID-19 spreads through the air; scientists are investigating how long COVID-19 may remain on surfaces; she worries about catching COVID-19. In each of those, it should be the coronavirus, not COVID-19."

Good to know. 

For more context, Marc Nichol dives into the meanings of terms and phrases surrounding the coronavirus in this piece. 

And, one of my favorite writing instructors, Anne Wylie, teamed up with PRSA for an excellent webinar on writing during these times. 

Just about everyone has been affected by COVID-19 and economic shutdowns.  Some people have been furloughed or have been laid off and face major financial problems.  Others are overwhelmed with work, often while also caring for small children and are overwhelmed.  Just about everyone is stressed.  Our cognitive ability is lower than usual, so Wylie recommends using short words and short sentences in short copy. 

The webinar is available and free until October.  If you write in any capacity, I encourage you to watch the recording.