Is the word "positive" best used in the headline? At first glance, I naturally linked it with covid-19 - positive in testing? Sad, you've become a new case of the nasty virus. But then I read the content and found that it meant "optimistic". But the word "positive" is indeed too sensitive in 2020, because the link betwwen "positive" and "covid-19" is overwhelming in the global health crisis and is better to avoid using it in narrow space.

What is your opinion?

The Scandinavian secrets to keeping positive in a covid-19 winter Lockdown restrictions in winter might seem something to dread, but we can combat this by embracing the mindset of people used to long, dark winters, says health psychologist Kari Leibowitz

Source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24833112-500-the-scandinavian-secrets-to-keeping-positive-in-a-covid-19-winter/#ixzz6fx3UwdpU

2 Answers 2


As a phrase, "keeping positive" unambiguously means "to remain optimistic." If it said "testing positive", that would be about virus testing.


There is a potential ambiguity with positive. Consider

Q Did anything positive happen to you this week?
A Yes, I had a COVID-19 test

In this case we do not know whether the test turned out positive or the outcome was viewed in a positive light. However in the example you quote I do not think a native speaker would see it as anything other than meaning optimistic.

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