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How to Talk About the Coronavirus in Chinese

YANGYANG CHENG | FEBRUARY 13, 2020
With the tragic situation of the coronavirus outbreak in China, we wanted to first and foremost express that our hearts go out to all those affected by the virus. We hope that everyone tries their best to stay safe, and stay strong, during this difficult time.

Many of our students with friends and family in China - as well as students living in China themselves - have asked us how to express their concern and ask questions about health and the current situation.

We want to share an informative post to help talk about the virus and symptoms in Chinese. 

Whether you’re feeling sick yourself, comforting someone who is sick or has loved ones who are, or just discussing the topic in general, below is a list of some must-know words and expressions when talking about the virus in Chinese:

Asking How Others Are/Wishing Others Well


  • 你最近还好吗? (nǐ zuì jìn hái hǎo ma) - Have you been OK recently?
  • 你们家里人身体都还好吗?(nǐ men jiā lǐ rén shēn tǐ dōu hái hǎo ma) - Are your family members all OK? / Are your family members all healthy?
  • 希望你们家都没事。(xī wàng nǐ men jiā dōu méi shì) - I hope your family is all OK.
  • 祝你们身体健康!(zhù nǐ men shēn tǐ jiàn kāng) - Wishing you guys good health!
  • 祝你身体健康!(zhù nǐ shēn tǐ jiàn kāng) - Wishing you good health.
  • 我能帮你什么忙吗?(wǒ néng bāng nǐ shén me máng ma) - Can I help you with anything?
  • 多喝热水。 (duō hē rè shuǐ) - Drink more hot water.
  • 好好休息。 (hǎo hāor xiū xi) - Rest up./Rest well.
  • 早日康复。 (zǎo rì kāng fù) - Get well soon.
  • 希望你早点好起来。 (xī wàng nǐ zǎo diǎn hǎo qǐ lai) - I hope you get better soon. 

General Vocabulary Related to the Virus


  • 病毒 (bìng dú) - virus
  • 冠状病毒 (guān zhuàng bìng dú)- coronavirus
  • 新冠病毒 (xīn guān bìng dú)- the novel coronavirus
  • 肺炎 (fèi yán) - pneumonia
  • 细菌 (xì jūn) - bacteria/germ(s)
  • 传染 (chuán rǎn) - to infect/to be contagious
  • 感染 (gǎn rǎn) - to infect
  • 隔离 (gé lí) - quarantine
  • 医院 (yī yuàn) - hospital
  • 医生 (yī shēng) - doctor
  • 看医生 (kàn yī shēng) - to see a doctor

Talking About Symptoms of the Virus


  • 生病 (shēng bìng) - to get sick/to be ill
  • 不舒服 (bù shū fu) - to not feel well
  • 流鼻涕 (liú bí tì) - runny nose
  • 鼻塞 (bí sè) - to have a stuffy nose/to feel congested
  • 打喷嚏 (dǎ pēn tì) - to sneeze
  • 咳嗽 (ké sou) - to cough
  • 喉咙痛 (hóu long tòng) - to have a sore throat
  • 发烧 (fā shāo) - to have a fever
  • 呼吸急促 (hū xī jí cù) - to be short of breath

Talking About What to Do


  • 多休息 (duō xiū xi) - to rest more
  • 多喝水 (duō hē shuǐ) - drink more water (stay hydrated)
  • 戴口罩 (dài kǒu zhào) - to wear a face mask
  • 多洗手 (duō xǐ shǒu) - to wash one’s hands more often
  • 多消毒 (duō xiāo dú) - to sanitize more often
  • 少出门 (shǎo chū mén) - to go out less

Here is one more line dedicated to those Wuhan, which you’ll hear many Chinese people using as well - 武汉加油 (wǔ hàn jiā yóu)! - Stay strong Wuhan!

We hope that you find this list of vocabulary and expressions useful in your Mandarin conversations, and above all: 


武汉加油,中国加油 (wǔ hàn jiā yóu, zhōng guó jiā yóu) - Stay strong Wuhan, stay strong China!