Stigma will kill us

Letters to the Editor

Stigma will kill us

Monday, April 20, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Here we are with the reality of the spread of the coronavirus within our nation. My last check of the spread of the virus within our nation showed a quick march to 200 individuals testing positive.

What is alarming me, and I guess many, is the news of high levels of discrimination against nurses, communities, and even motor vehicles. I learnt that a nurse complained bitterly about her fellow co-workers shunning her due to her Accident & Emergency work assignment. Also alarming is the claims of call centre employees in Portmore refusing to allow the Ministry of Health bus to pick them up for testing, with the reason for such action being fear of being stigmatised or even being left homeless.

I can understand the fear that many individuals may experience in this pandemic. The reality is, though, there is much more for us to learn about this virus, and much that is not told to us. However, this too shall pass, like numerous pandemics in the past; namely, Spanish flu, pollo, cholera, etc.

Stigma cannot be the answer to solve the pandemic or even stop the spread of the virus. Stigma will cause more harm to our population due to fear and anxiety. Stigma will only divide us.

I would therefore suggest to each citizen that we have the answer to solve this pandemic. This answer is not stigma, hatred or fear, but rather playing our part by staying at home and maintaining social distancing. This is a war that we must win together, not by division, but by unity.

We will reflect years from now on this pandemic and it must be said that we overcame it together.

Christopher Johnson
Minister of religion

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