After Recovering from COVID-19, Many Still Face Stigma

Months after a lot of COVID-19 patients recovered, they report having to live with the stigma of having been treated for the deadly disease.
As a result, many who have also since gone on to re-test as negative, fail to mention to others that they were ever sick.
“People act like you did something to catch it, or you did something wrong, and that’s why you got it,” Dashauna Ballard, 29, an academic accommodations specialist for university students, said in a recent NBC News interview. “I feel like I have a scarlet letter on my chest.”
Ballard of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, said that while some people tend to give her suspicious looks when they find out she had COVID-19; others assume she got infected by not taking proper hygiene measures or that she contracted the virus as punishment for sins she committed.
Like Ballard whose struggle with the virus included shortness of breath that resulted in her hospitalization, many survivors come to realize that their support system wasn’t as strong as they thought. Having recovered, they still faced stigmatization from family, friends and co-workers who don’t want to be around them, thus adding to their feelings of isolation and abandonment.
“I don’t fault them for it, but it did make me feel like I was being punished a little bit, and I didn’t really know how to process it,” Ballard said. “You feel like no one really understands what you’re going through.”

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