Public health emergencies, such as the outbreak of COVID-19, are very stressful times for people and their communities.
Fear and anxiety about a disease can lead to social stigma towards people, places, or things. Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate a disease such as COVID-19 with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population is at risk for the disease. Stigma can also occur after a person has been released from COVID-19 quarantine, and although they may not be considered a risk for spreading the virus to others, fears of them testing positive for the virus again can arise.
Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards other people.
Everyone can help stop stigma related to COVID-19 by knowing the facts and sharing them with others in your community.
Recent examples of social stigma include but are not limited to:
- Persons of Asian descent
- Persons who have traveled
- Emergency responders or healthcare professionals
- Hospitality professionals
Stigmatized groups may be subjected to:
- Social avoidance or rejection
- Denials of healthcare, education, housing, or employment
- Physical violence
- Long-term financial effects, including job security, rent payments, and overall financial well-being.
Our exposure to COVID-19 is still in early stages. As fast as the virus is spreading, officials and experts are trying their best to keep us up-to-date with new developments, information, and how to prevent further cases from happening.
The most important thing to remember is to remain calm. Protect yourself and be supportive to others. Remaining calm and assisting others in their time of need can benefit both the person receiving support as well as the helper.