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COVID-19 and Stigma

As COVID-19 continues to spread in communities in the U.S., worry, anxiety and fear can lead to stigma toward certain groups, especially Chinese or other Asian Americans. Stigma and discrimination can create fear and anger that is misdirected at our neighbors instead of at the disease itself.

Use the below information and guidance to help fight stigma and provide social support.

  • Being Chinese or Asian American or any other ethnicity, race, or descent does not increase the chance of contracting or spreading COVID-19. Viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds.
     
  • People who have not recently been in an area of ongoing spread of COVID-19 or been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 are not at greater risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19 than others.
     
  • People who live in the U.S. may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives in affected areas. Facing stigma can make fear and anxiety worsen. Social support can help them cope.
     
  • People who have returned from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 more than 14 days ago, and who do not have symptoms, are not infected with the virus. Contact with them will not give you the virus.
     
  • People who have traveled to areas of COVID-19 outbreaks have taken measures to help make sure the disease does not spread further. This can be mentally and emotionally challenging. Please provide these people with social support upon their return.
     
  • Share only trusted, accurate sources of information about how the virus spreads.
     
  • Speak out against negative behaviors, including negative statements on social media about groups of people, or exclusion of people who pose no risk from regular activities.
     
  • Reach out to neighbors who may need extra support when falling ill.
     
  • Support people who return to schools, workplaces, places of worship, community groups, or other places after a period of quarantine or isolation.

 

Developed March 10, 2020, with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention