Cleared by doctors, but not by the public: After COVID-19, survivors face stigma

In the three months since Dashauna Ballard of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, recovered from the coronavirus, she has learned to not mention that she was ever sick. Some people give her suspicious looks when they find out she had COVID-19; some assume she got it because she did not take proper hygiene measures; and, recently, an acquaintance from church implied that Ballard, 29, caught the virus as punishment for sins she committed.

“People act like you did something to catch it, or you did something wrong, and that’s why you got it,” Ballard, an academic accommodations specialist for university students, said. “I feel like I have a scarlet letter on my chest.”

In a time when they need it the most, many survivors of the coronavirus are finding that their support system wants nothing to do with them. Having recovered from the illness, they now face a new challenge: stigma from family, friends and co-workers.

NBC Cleared by doctors, but not by the public: After COVID-19, survivors face stigma