Le or La Covid & 70 French Coronavirus Terms & Phrases 🦠

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

French Coronavirus Covid 19 related vocabulary and expressions, and sentences to ask your French friends how they are doing.

Many of you try to watch the news in French. Or maybe you have some French friends and would like to talk to them about the Coronavirus COVID-19 situation?

Here is some useful French Coronavirus-related vocabulary and expressions.

Let’s start by seeing how to translate Coronavirus and Covid in French.

How to Say Coronavirus Covid 19 in French?

In French, we say “le coronavirus”, or “le virus corona”, or “le (virus) Covid dix-neuf”.

Is it “le” or “La” Covid in French?

So is Covid feminine or masculine in French?

Le Covid Because masculine Coronavirus

Le Covid started as masculine because we say “le Coronavirus”. “Un virus” is masculine in French, so by association many people in France – myself included – think Covid is masculine and therefore say “le Covid”.

Feminine Covid Because the French Academy Says So

Now, you know the French… It’s never easy. New word means new rules and now, the Académie Française is claiming Covid should be feminine because it is short for “la maladie du Covid” and “maladie” is feminine.

An Scientist Opinion For La Covid

Nicolas Martin, author of scientific reports on the Covid agrees with l’Académie and says he’s going to use Covid in the feminine.

“…LA Covid-19. On me répète qu’il faut en parler au féminin, puisqu’il s’agit de l’acronyme de ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’, traduit donc “Maladie à coronavirus 2019”. Maladie étant féminin, je m’y tiendrai donc désormais : la Covid-19″

A Majority of French People Are Still Using Covid in the Masculine

One year later, a majority of French people disagree with the Académie.

According to the Huffington post, the vast majority of French people asked in a poll use Covid in the masculine :

  • 56% say “le Covid”,
  • 19% say “la Covid”,
  • and 25% are not sure and use Covid both in the masculine and the feminine.

And you thought French genders were only hard for foreigners!

Now let’s dig in in some useful French Covid phrases and vocabulary.

How to Say “Stay Safe and Healthy” in French?

To say “stay safe and healthy” in French we don’t really translate literally but rather, we would say :

“Prenez bien soin de vous (et de vos proches)”.
Take good care of yourself and your loved ones.

French Covid 19 Vocabulary – Tools and Ways to Fight

  1. Hand sanitiser – le gel hydroalcoolique, le désinfectant pour les mains
  2. Glove – un gant
  3. Mask – un masque
  4. Face shield – une visière (de protection)
  5. Isolation – l’isolement
  6. Self isolation – l’auto-isolement
  7. Social distancing – la distance sociale de sécurité
  8. Le vaccin – vaccin
  9. Le certificat de vaccin – vaccin certificate
  10. Le passe sanitaire – health pass

10 Covid Barrier Gesture in French

  1. Barrier Gesture – Les gestes barrières
  2. Wash your hands regularly – Se laver les mains régulièrement
  3. Saying hello without shaking hands – Se dire bonjour sans se serrer la main
  4. Saying hello without kissing – Se saluer sans s’embrasser
  5. Keeping a safe social distance – Garder une distance de sécurité avec les autres
  6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth = éviter de se toucher les yeux, le nez et la bouche
  7. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue – tousser ou éternuer dans son coude ou un mouchoir
  8. Use disposable tissue and throw it away after use – utiliser un mouchoir à usage unique et le jeter après usage
  9. Wear a mask – Porter un masque
  10. Please stay home! – S’il vous plaît restez chez vous !
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Covid terms in the News

Here are some French Coronavirus related terms and expression you’ll hear in the news.

  1. World crisis – une crise mondiale
  2. Health crisis – une crise sanitaire
  3. Disease – une maladie
  4. Epidemic – une épidémie
  5. Pandemic – une pandémie
  6. Public health – la santé publique
  7. Epicenter – un épicentre  
  8. Incubation period – la période d’incubation
  9. Contagion – contagion
  10. Propagation – la propagation, la diffusion
  11. Compromised immune system – un système immunitaire compromis
  12. For a not determined duration – pour une durée indéterminée
  13. Lockdown – le confinement total
  14. Quarantine – la quarantaine
  15. A risk area – une zone à risque
  16. curfew – un couvre-feu
  17. Forbidden – interdit
  18. Gathering – un rassemblement
  19. Certificate – une attestation
  20. Individual physical exercise – l’activité physique individuelle
  21. Buying essential items – l’achat de produits de première nécessité
  22. Death Rate – le taux de mortalité
  23. Intensive Care – les soins intensifs
  24. Resuscitation – la réanimation
  25. Ventilator – un respirateur
  26. Recovery – la guérison
  27. Vaccine – un vaccin
  28. Les anti-vax – anti-vaxxer

French Covid 19 Vocabulary – Tests and testing

Here are some French Coronavirus terms related to tests and testing.

  1. Diagnostic test – un test diagnostic
  2. Screening test – un test de dépistage
  3. Swab – un prélèvement
  4. Test results – le résultat des tests
  5. Positive – positif
  6. Negative – négatif
  7. Inconclusive – non concluant

People and People at Risk

Here are some French Coronavirus terms related to people and people at risk.

  1. Probable case: un cas probable
  2. Confirmed case – un cas confirmé
  3. Single case – un cas isolé
  4. Serious case – un cas grave
  5. Carrier – un porteur, une porteuse
  6. Vulnerable people – une personne fragile
  7. Elderly person – une personne âgée
  8. les Ehpad (Établissement d’hébergement pour personnes âgées dépendantes) – nursing home
  9. Underlying condition – une maladie préexistante
  10. Respiratory disease – une maladie respiratoire
  11. Immunodéprimé – immunocompromised
  12. a sick person – un/ une malade
  13. A patient – un patient, une patiente

What to do if you have the Covid in France?

The French government has put up a free hotline number that you should call if you have questions: 0 800 130 000 (unsure if they speak English but they’ll probably be able to patch you to someone that does)

If you start showing symptoms call your doctor or a doctor, do not go to a doctor’s office.

If you have difficulties breathing or very heavy symptoms and are in an emergency situation, call the SAMU by dialling 15.

I’ve written many articles on the subject of being sick in France. I’ve even written and recorded a typical medical exam /physical in French with English translation and 45 minutes of free audio recording. Follow the link to listen to/ download the audio (don’t hesitate to share it!)

I suggest you read this article : what to do if you are sick in France and follow all the links (note that some of these recommendations might not apply in the case of suspected Covid-19).

Now let’s study useful sentences to check on your friends in French.

How to Check on Your French Friends

  1. I’m writing to get some news from you – j’écris pour prendre de tes nouvelles
  2. How are you and your loved ones doing? – Comment ça va pour vous et vos proches ?
  3. Are you OK? – Est-ce que ça va ?
  4. Are you safe ? – Est-ce que tu es en sécurité ?
  5. Are you being safe? – Est-ce que tu prends des précautions ?
  6. Did you postpone your trip? – As-tu reporté ton voyage ?
  7. Did you get back home? – Es-tu rentré chez toi ?
  8. How are things with your work? – Comment ça se passe pour ton travail ?
  9. It’s not too hard at home with your kids? – C’est pas trop dur à la maison avec les enfants ?
  10. Can you go out a bit? – Est-ce que tu peux sortir un peu ?
  11. Do you have a garden? – Tu as un jardin ?
  12. I hope all will be fine for your and your family – J’espère que tout ira bien pour toi et ta famille.
  13. I think of you a lot – Je pense beaucoup à toi.
  14. I’m praying for you and your family – je prie pour toi et ta famille.

I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are safe.

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 25+ years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Come to Paimpol and enjoy an exclusive French immersion homestay with me in Brittany.

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