Like many health issues such as mental illness and kidney failure, there is a stigma associated with them. Many times, the stigma is due to misleading information surrounding issues and quite frankly if one educates themselves about some of these issues, you would become better inform and knowledgeable and hopefully realize that we should not practice stigma and discrimination against anyone.
There are individuals that have been tested positive with COVID 19 and are facing a significant amount of stigma and discrimination. I recalled a few weeks ago, a number of students that resided in the UK returned home. Soon thereafter, the Government announced that there were two cases of COVID 19. Rumours began to spread like wildfire that our daughter Drexanna was one of the patients that tested positive. Both Drexanna and I received multiple messages about this and the tone with some of the message were very concerning. However, our daughter was tested negative. I am saying all of this to say that the stigma associated with COVID 19 is very alarming.
The stigma has caused many to isolate themselves from others. While we should practice social distance from individuals in order to avoid any spread of the virus, we should be there to support persons with this virus rather than gossiping about them. This is time when people will need as much support from their family and friends to help them with the recovery process.
More than COVID 19 kills
While it is true that there is no cure for COVID 19 and as a result some people are dying from the virus but there are other viruses that are also causing people to die. The deaths may not be as significant as the deaths from COVID 19, but deaths are taking place from other viruses and diseases. The World Health Association estimates that between 290,000 and 650,000 people die from the flu on annual basis.
Not everyone dies
There is a concern by many that once you have the virus, you will die. There are thousands of individuals that have recovered from the virus. However, most of the time, we focus a lot on the number of individuals that were tested positive rather than how many people recovered from the virus. In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have had only two deaths and those deaths occurred because of underlying conditions.
The Blame Game
Sometimes we blame and treat people differently who have the virus as if they intentionally got the virus and spreading it. There are some people who are not adhering to the protocols and as a result contracted the virus and there are some people who innocently contracted the virus without even knowing it.
Because of the stigma associated with the virus, people are so afraid of what others are thinking about them and sometimes they lie about having the virus.
This virus does not discriminate, and it can happen to any of us. Therefore, if the virus does not discriminate, then we should not discriminate. We must learn to treat people they way we want ourselves to be treated.