Covid-19 shares name with Arizona company

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When the coronavirus outbreak surfaced in China in late 2019, the World Health Organization got a chance to test-drive its new naming guidelines for infectious diseases.

The rules are fairly simple.

Some do’s: Keep it short and easy to pronounce using generic descriptions of symptoms, physiology affected, severity or seasonality.

Big don’ts: Names of places, people, animals, cultures or industries to avoid stigmatizing them.

So the wheels turned and the WHO last week delivered COVID-19, for coronavirus disease 2019.

So everyone’s happy, right? At least about the name? Well the owner of Tempe, Ariz., company was a bit stunned.

Norm Carson, CEO of Covid, “Your connection company,” was at a trade show in Amsterdam when he discovered his firm now had a contagious cognomen. “It’s a little surreal,” Carson told Slate.

But the company, which sells professional grade AV cables (think HDMI cables), has no plans to change its name. “It’s unfortunate. Today maybe some people will think we’re linked to this. But—I take that back. I don’t think anyone who knows Covid will associate us with this,” Carson said.

As for naming the virus itself, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses has settled on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2. Outliers is betting no company is named that.

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