There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. The name was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practices for naming of new human infectious diseases.

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced the official name, first identified in Wuhan China. The name is officially the coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. The ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ ‘D’ for disease, and ’19’ for year of discovery.

Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV.”