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I just read “two women in my neighborhood are sick from coronavirus” and I was wondering if that would mean the same as “two women in my neighborhood are sick with coronavirus”. Is there any difference between “with” and “from” when using “sick”?

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  • Good question! This is a distinction I’ve never thought about before. – Fivesideddice Apr 4 '20 at 1:52
  • "I am sick with COVID-19; I got sick from SARS-CoV-2." – bjb568 Apr 4 '20 at 2:11
  • @bjb568 “I got sick from COVID-19; I am sick with SARS-CoV-2.” Cuts both ways. – Fivesideddice Apr 4 '20 at 2:17
  • @Fivesideddice The first sounds unnatural because it places agency with COVID-19, which is a concept, not any concrete object. The second sounds correct, but non-idiomatic because it's not using the phrase "sick with" (because you can only be sick with a disease, not a virus), but rather the words "sick" and "with" separately, albeit correctly. – bjb568 Apr 4 '20 at 5:07
  • @bjb568 I don’t quite understand. COVID-19 is just as much a ‘concept’ as SARS-CoV-2; they’re two different ways of referring to the same thing. – Fivesideddice Apr 4 '20 at 10:30
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I suppose ‘sick from’ has more of an implication that it’s badly affecting the person who has contracted it; it says that the person has gotten sick from it; they’ve contracted the disease and therefore become affected by it; they’re sick — meaning ‘feeling bad’ — from coronavirus. This gives a bit of an implication that they’ve been badly affected by the sickness; they’re probably badly affected by it if it’s worth implying that they have been affected at all.

‘Sick with’, however, just says they have it and are being adversely affected by it — they’ve got it, and they’re sick, too; they’re ‘feeling bad’ — but not as badly as ‘sick from’ seems to imply.

On the whole there’s not much difference, however; they’re largely interchangeable, but the different emphases from the different wording can make a slight difference.

Hope that helps!

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I feel “from” conveys the origin or cause of the illness and “with” conveys the actual illness.

I would say “I have a virus” and “I’m “sick with a virus“ rather than “I’m sick from a virus.”

I‘m sore from working out. (Cause/origin of problem) I’m sore with working out. (Test shows it doesn’t work)

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