Sunday, June 26

Doctors say the stigma should end as omicron spreads


  • Despite their best efforts, some people still contract COVID-19 and feel immense shame. Doctors say that thinking needs to shift.
  • Though stigma surrounding coronavirus is decreasing with breakthrough cases, doctors urge the importance of vaccines in helping keep symptoms and death rates low.

Neil Williams was in charge of making the first in-person pandemic meeting with his coworkers safe. He made sure people were following precautions like masking and socially distancing. So, when he tested positive a few days later, he was “extremely hard” on himself.

While his coworkers were understanding, he felt an overwhelming sense of disappointment over his positive test.

Dr. Eric Ascher, a family medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, has seen a wide-range of patient emotions during the years-long COVID-19 pandemic, including shame.

Especially earlier in the pandemic, Ascher said his patients grappled with the stigma of testing positive for COVID-19.

“There was a sense that if you contracted the virus, you must have done something wrong – did not get vaccinated, went to public venues, did not wear a mask,” he says.


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