Podcast #3 COVID-19: Are there two diseases with two different names?

Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra and Richard Trudgen talk about the meaning of the name COVID-19.

Many Yolngu are confused because two names are being used for the disease; Coronavirus and COVID-19. They discuss information relating to the terms corona and coronavirus and then deal with the meaning of the name COVID-19 and where it comes from.

Djiniyini asks a number of questions in relation to the World Health Organisation. Together he and Richard discuss the organisation, saying WHO has 150 countries who are members and that it’s responsible for the health and well-being of all its member states. They also give some background information about WHO.

Djiniyini asks if the COVID-19 virus has occurred before. Richard explains it’s a new disease that humans have not seen before and compares it to the Spanish flu in 1918.  It says that the Spanish flu killed over 50 million people around the world.

Richard discusses the history and effects of the Spanish flu on Yolngu people in north-east Arnhem Land. At the time of the Spanish flu an entire generation of Yolngu along the coast died unexpectedly (including Djiniyini’s grandfather). When this occurred Yolngu blamed it on sorcery or other acts by neighbouring clan groups.

However as Yolngu were coastal people and had regular contact with British-owned Malay-crewed boats in their waters  historians believe the numerous deaths were caused by the Spanish flu.

Djiniyini says this information is a shock to him because he knows the Yolngu history of the Elders deaths but has never heard of the Spanish flu. He says the discussion about the Spanish flu brings home the severity of this COVID-19 pandemic.


There are 4 Stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below:


  • Story No. 1 Coronavirus – Are there 2 different diseases with 2 different names? 0:00
  • Story No. 2  Meaning of the name COVID-19   9:10
  • Story No. 3  What is the World Health Organisation (WHO)? 19:50
  • Story No. 4  Has  COVID-19 occurred before? 28:25


Click on the links below to listen to the other podcasts in our COVID-19 series: 

Please note: Podcasts 1 & 2 are not currently available online due to the unfortunate death of one of our presenters.