What is the difference between a colleague and a co-worker?
The practical difference is maybe that a colleague can’t fire you.
In these days of turbulence, authenticity and honesty is prized, even when it hurts.
The days ahead will be full of difficult decisions, and we will be swamped by lots of statements along the lines of “it has been a difficult and painful decision to let our colleagues go”.
Of course it’s painful, but let’s not add insult to injury by calling them colleagues. They had no say in the decision.