Quick guide to avoiding coronavirus-related stigma
Here's how you can talk about coronavirus without contributing to stigmatization
The coronavirus' spread and global reach has been a source of concern and a call for collective action to prevent the virus from spreading further. While you may be feeling worried about how to stay safe amidst this pandemic, it is critical that we keep coronavirus-related stigma to a minimum as it may make this challenging situation worse.
Around the world there have been reports of individuals being subject to verbal or even physical abuse as their ethnicity was unfairly associated with the virus.
Public health emergencies are stressful times for everyone affected. It’s important to stay informed and to be kind and supportive to each other. Words matter, and using language that perpetuates existing stereotypes can drive people away from getting tested and taking the actions they need to protect themselves and their communities.
Here's how you can talk about the coronavirus pandemic without pointing fingers.
DO: talk about the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
DON’T: attach locations or ethnicity to the disease. Remember, viruses can’t target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds.
DO: talk about “people who have COVID-19”, “people who are being treated for COVID-19”, “people who are recovering from COVID-19” or “people who died after contracting COVID-19”
DON’T: refer to people with the disease as “COVID-19 cases” or “victims”
DO: talk about people “acquiring” or “contracting” COVID-19
DON’T: talk about people “transmitting COVID-19” “infecting others” or “spreading the virus” as it implies intentional transmission and assigns blame.
DO: speak accurately about the risk from COVID-19, based on scientific data and latest official health advice
DON’T: repeat or share unconfirmed rumors, and avoid using hyperbolic language designed to generate fear like “plague”, “apocalypse” etc.
DO: talk positively and emphasize the importance of effective prevention measures, including following our tips on handwashing. For most people this is a disease they can overcome. There are simple steps we can all take to keep ourselves, our loved ones and the most vulnerable safe.