Opinion: There is a Stigma Around COVID-19

Mendsaikhan Bayartsogt, a junior from Mongolia, wears his mask and sanitizes his hands. These simple measures go a long way in preventing the spread of COVID-19 (Photo by Paola Amaya).

Watching the news and keeping up with social media, I knew that there was a stigma around those that caught COVID-19. It’s no secret that people who test positive for COVID-19 are judged by their peers. This became clear to me after catching the virus a few weeks ago.

This semester is already difficult enough for students, and catching COVID-19 was just the icing on the cake. From being in quarantine to being moved to isolation, starting the second module of the semester in that manner was already challenging enough without the unwanted judgement from those around me.

Even while in quarantine, I didn’t want to tell anyone that I had been in contact with someone with COVID-19. After feeling symptoms and getting my positive test result, I felt even more insecure about people finding out. I felt alone. I found  comfort in my friend who was currently in isolation and my family members who had COVID-19 over the summer.

After moving into my assigned isolation house, I met another student with COVID-19. Talking to her, I learned that she felt the same as me. The process is already lonely enough, and not having anyone to talk to or relate to can be tough on anyone who is diagnosed with the virus, but especially students. No one really wants to say that they had COVID-19 because of the fear of what people will think. 

The student in isolation with me and I both felt relieved being able to talk to someone in a similar situation. Neither of us knew any other students on campus that had already gone through the same process, aside from the people who gave us COVID-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no person is more likely to spread COVID-19 than another. Therefore, the stigma of judgment around COVID-19 is completely unwarranted.

It is a global pandemic. We are all in the same situation. We have to protect and support each other. Anyone can catch COVID-19, so there is no reason to look at others differently for doing so.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets, which are released when a person talks, coughs or sneezes. These droplets can be in the air, on surfaces or can even land on you when you are in close contact to anyone.

It is not difficult to contract COVID-19, which is why masks are so enforced and people are encouraged to be cautious, especially when in public. This is all a community effort and putting shame or judgment on someone for having had COVID-19 is not fair or helpful.

About Paola Amaya 12 Articles
Paola is a senior from Fort Worth, Texas. She is a Communication Studies and English double major.

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