Pingdemic

pingdemic, noun; see also pandemic

This term surfaced in the UK media during the third wave of the COVID pandemic, and referred to the wildly increased number of NHS COVID app notifications—or ‘pings’—instructing individuals to self-isolate after coming into contact with an infected person. The term featured extensively in newspaper headlines such as ‘Fears over shortages as stores hit by pingdemic’ (The Times, 22 July 2021), and implied that ‘pings’ were responsible for retail staffing crises rather than the 40,000 daily new cases following Prime Minister Johnson’s wholesale lifting of COVID restrictions. This was much like suggesting a smoke alarm be blamed for a house burning down, as opposed to the actual fire or the fire brigade failing to show up. The origin of the term is unclear. Most likely a pun-loving journo after a very boozy lunch.

From Covidiot to Zoombombing: Lexicon of a Pandemic (Oxford 2027), p. 182.

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