Q. Should the custom be not to call this (Coronavirus) disease by name as is the custom with other dreaded diseases?
A. There is indeed a tradition followed by some not to call a frightening disease such as cancer by its name, and they usually say in Yidish; “yene machle” or “that disease,” and it is self understood that the speaker is referring to that particular sickness. The reason is likely to avoid giving opportunity to the accuser (Satan) to charge the patient and demand that sickness on him, as he is now in a state of being judged. This in known as “Al iftach adam pe l’Satan” (Brochos 19a), or do not open the mouth of the indicter, and is common in many legal systems. (quoted in Mishpetei Shoul 41, and others)
However, we do find many cases where the Torah itself does mention the name of a terrible sickness, as in “nega tzora’as,” where nega is illness and tzora’as is the name of the illness (Ramban). And so are many dreaded others mentioned in the Tochacha and elsewhere. It could be that this tradition for those who keep it, is mainly when referring to a given particular person.
As is obvious from the many articles published by known Rabbonim and Gedolim recently, there is mostly no reluctance to mention the pandemic’s name in all its versions.
Horav Shlomo Miller’s opinion is similar. (See recent letter of the Rov, quoted on question 2607).
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a.