How will COVID-19 affect the baby name Rona?

Illustration of the COVID-19 virus
COVID-19 virus

We’ve seen some interesting baby names (e.g., Covid, Lockdown, Sanitizer) emerge in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But, so far, I haven’t heard of anyone intentionally giving their baby the name Rona — the Internet’s nickname for the disease.

The slang term Rona can now be found all over the place, from tweets (#rona) to memes (The Rona) to newspaper headlines (The ‘Rona is a Drag). Lots of people are using Rona as a search term. Here’s how Bustle described Rona:

Miss Rona, Aunt Rona, the Rona: these are all terms used to personify the virus as a villain who does not play around. “Rona is often used as a playful or ironic way to refer to COVID-19, especially when commenting on more relatable, humorous challenges of social distancing during the pandemic,” says

The jokey usage of Rona distances it somewhat from the gravity of the coronavirus situation. Couple this with the fact that repeated exposure to something often leads to a stronger preference for that thing, and I have to wonder: Will the baby name Rona see an uptick in usage in 2020?

Graph of the usage of the baby name Rona in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Rona

These days, roughly two dozen baby girls per year in the U.S. get the name Rona:

  • 2018: 24 baby girls named Rona
  • 2017: 30 baby girls named Rona
  • 2016: 27 baby girls named Rona
  • 2015: 26 baby girls named Rona
  • 2014: 21 baby girls named Rona

How many baby girls, do you think, will be named Rona in 2020?

Update, 5/2022: It went down, not up! The usage of Rona decreased in both 2020 and 2021. Rona was among the fastest-falling girl names of 2021, in fact. Here’s the latest data:

  • 2021: 5 baby girls named Rona
  • 2020: 18 baby girls named Rona
  • 2019: 26 baby girls named Rona
  • 2018: 24 baby girls named Rona


Top image: COVID-19 virus (CDC)

[Latest update: Jul. 2024]

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