Adapted from the Centers for Disease Control Reducing Stigma Webpage.
Stigma occurs when people associate a risk with a specific people, place, or thing – like a minority population group – and there is no evidence that the risk is greater in that group than in the general population. Stigmatization is especially common in disease outbreaks.
Public health emergencies are stressful for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease, like COVID-19, can lead to social stigma toward people, places, or things. For example, stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate a disease 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
It is important to remember that people – including those of Asian descent – who do not live in or have not recently been in an area of ongoing spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, or have not been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 are not at greater risk of spreading COVID-19 than other Americans. (CDC)