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Some who beat COVID-19 are now dealing with social stigma

Posted at 8:22 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 21:24:40-04

ST. MARTINVILLE — Some people who recovered from the coronavirus are still dealing with lingering effects of the virus.

As of Monday, at least 75% of people who had COVID-19 in Louisiana are considered "presumed recovered," which means it's been two weeks since the person tested positive and they're out of the hospital or 21 days if they were recovering at home.

Some who no longer have the virus are now facing a new challenge of a social stigma.

On April 3, Lauren Carlos received the news she had been waiting for after being admitted to the hospital seven days earlier with COVID-19 and pneumonia.

"I had this moment where I was so happy to be home or to be going home, so I thought, and I didn't realize what life is going to be like on the outside," explained Carlos.

Yesterday, Carlos decided to visit the nail salon she frequents, which opened under Phase 1.

She says when one of the technicians asked her how she had been, she shared with them that she went to the hospital for the coronavirus.

"You could hear a pin drop," said Carlos. "All of the customers stopped talking. Usually the techs talk amongst themselves; they stopped talking."

Once Carlos felt the stares and tension in the room, she let everyone know she carries the negative results with her, but she says that didn't ease their worries and they wanted her out as soon as possible.

"[I was] partially mad at myself for opening my mouth," said Carlos. "I didn't realize I hadn't told them. It's definitely not a secret to anyone who knows me and who's been in my life of the struggle that I went through, my family went through."

Carlos is now hoping people show more compassion toward those who have gone through recovery.

"Be kind, and have faith. People aren't monsters. People who had COVID-19 are not monsters," said Carlos. "We're out and about trying to live our lives and make a living and pay the bills."

According to the World Health Organization, people who are experiencing this stigma may be driven to isolation and discouraged from restarting healthy behaviors.

You can help by sharing facts about the virus and by communicating support to people who maybe struggling.

If you need emotional support during the pandemic, you can text the word "REACHOUT" to 741741 to be connected with a trained crisis counselor.
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