Watching the television reports, reading the online reports and social network posts, I notice the use of infected and contaminated interchangeably.
I don’t you about you, but the use of the term ‘contaminated’ for a person sick of the coronavirus covid-19 really bothers me.
So much that I am talking back to the television. We all do it, don’t judge. My first response is, “idiot, it’s infected, not contaminated” then realize I am the idiot. But that is another story.
So, what is the difference?
Definition of infected according to Merriam-Webster dictionary: having an infection: contaminated with an infective agent (such as a bacterium or virus); an infected wound //through a number of different means, these viruses persist at very low, hard-to-detect levels in infected cells. — The Journal of the American Medical Association
Definition of contaminated, same dictionary: soiled, stained, corrupted, or infected by contact or association: made unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements.
I did a quick search online for some answers, where I found the following that might help.
- If you spit in my drink, then I would consider it contaminated. I may or may not be infected after I drink it though, because an infection usually signifies a sickness, though it is used figuratively to describe the same things as contamination.
- The sink was contaminated by the raw chicken. Her cut was contaminated by the chicken juice and it got an infection, so she had to take medicine.
- Contamination mostly depends on an outside agent taking place. you can have contaminated food, contaminated objects, contaminated spaces. Infection is related to the body. When you have a virus or bacteria, and your body reacts to it you have an infection.
From the above, it contaminates me when contaminated is used instead of an infection.
What bothers me, even more, is the word being spewed by at a couple of health officials when referring to cases of covid-19 in Costa Rica and one news anchor which I will reserve to name. For now.
They are professionals. They should be professionals. The real professionals beside them use the right term, according to me. They should know better.
What’s your opinion?