The shame of infection/death due to COVID- -Why people hide being COVID+


“Why did he run away from the hospital?” 

Was a question that troubled many people when a few patients were reported having escaped from the hospitals during their COVID treatments. Initially, treating the patients and quarantining them for 14 days seemed like a manageable route for recovery and also slowing the spread. But the truth is that inspite of all government education, in most parts of the country, a COVID patient is still treated as untouchable, victimized, and discriminated against. He/she is thought to be reckless and careless about their safety and hence become a butt of mean words.

People have started hiding COVID news if a family member or a friend falls sick with it. A few patients are choosing to isolate themselves at their own, at home, without letting any concerned authorities know about the infection since they think letting people know would bring down a long list of rules and discriminations against them.

A 7-year-old Devnath from Mumbai (name changed) tested COVID positive and was sent to the isolation centre. When asked about his experience he said, “I wish I had not told anyone that I wasn’t feeling well. My mother took me to the hospital and then they all said I’d have to go away to the isolation ward. My mother tested negative but had to quarantine herself at home and wasn’t allowed to accompany me to the centre. A ward boy guided me to the isolation ward. I was given a bed but I had to share it with another boy older to me because there were very few beds available. I wanted to be with my mother but all I got was rude and frustrated patients. I really wish I would’ve just stayed at home without telling people anything. I would be OK if I would just sleep for 10-14 days straight. But this is very bad. I have been here for one week; I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to go home. I want my amma.”

The reason why most people might hide COVID positive results might also be due to the horror of staying away from the loved ones, amidst a pool of strangers struggling to survive without any clear hope. Apart from this, there is an additional fear of being treated as an ‘untouchable’ or being forced to stay as an ‘outcast’ and bear the disrespectful gazes from the people around.

Therefore it is important to remember that we have to fight the disease and not the patient. If there is a COVID patient in the vicinity, even if you can’t help them, atleast be sensitive and kind to them.