Public health emergencies, such as the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), are stressful times for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can lead to social stigma toward people, places, or things. For example, 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 or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease. Stigma can also occur after a person has been released from COVID-19 quarantine even though they are not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others.
Some groups of people who may be experiencing stigma because of COVID-19 include:
Persons of Asian descent
People who have traveled
Emergency responders or healthcare professionals
Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger toward other people.
What We Can Do to Prevent Stigma
Rely on and share trusted sources of information
Speak up if you hear, see, or read stigmatizing or harassing comments or misinformation
Show compassion and support for individuals and communities more closely impacted
Avoid stigmatizing people who are in quarantine. They are making the right choice for their communities
Do not make assumptions about someone's health status based on their ethnicity, race or national origin