Author: Bruce J. Little


What is stigma?


Stigma and discrimination can occur when people become worried about a disease and are not sufficiently educated about the facts around the disease and how it is spread. 


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this stigma and discrimination can occur when uninformed people associate infectious diseases, like COVID-19 coronavirus with a specific population and nationality. 

“Viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds.”

Associating the virus with people of Asian descent is a form of stigma, which hurts everyone because it creates fear and anger towards a group of people instead of “the disease that is causing the problem”.

What can be done to combat this harmful stigma?

The CDC suggests the following actions to prevent the unnecessary spread of COVID-19 stigmatisation: 

  • Be cautious of what images and information you share on social media. Make sure they don’t reinforce harmful stereotypes.

  • Raise awareness of the virus and how to prevent it without causing fear and alarm.

  • Make sure that the information you share and talk about is factual and up to date.

  • Speak out against discriminatory behaviour such as posts on social media and any form of prejudiced or uninformed discussion on the topic based on speculation.