Vizag reported 797 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, resulting in the district tally inching closer to the 22,000-mark. With the newly registered cases, the total count of COVID-19 cases in Vizag reached 21,998, on Wednesday.
According to the report released by Visakhapatnam COVID-19 Special Officer, Dr PV Sudhakar, 6,267 patients are receiving treatment and 15,581 individuals have been discharged so far. From Tuesday to Wednesday, the recovery rate of Vizag increased by 2.1%, as it stood at 70.8% as on 12 August. The report further stated that six more individuals succumbed to COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours, taking the death toll of the district to 150. Currently, Visakhapatnam has 145 very active clusters, 234 active clusters, 472 dormant clusters, and 39 denotified clusters.
As the number of coronavirus cases is increasing with each passing day in Vizag, by now, it is quite likely that you may already know someone from your social circle suffering from pandemic or someone taking care of them. While we all must observe social distancing, it is to be noted that many patients are finding it difficult to cope with the diagnosis, fearing stigma, and shaming.
With many getting quarantine tags and stickers, people are shunning and putting the blame on infected people for bringing home the disease or being negligent. In India alone, the outbreak has resulted in stigmatisation to the extent that there have been instances where some patients had actually avoided screening so as to steer clear from being tagged as a COVID-19 patient. Globally too, the outbreak has led to such great fear that people of Chinese descent had received a lot of judgement and harsh criticism. While these are just a few incidents, what we are failing to realise is that stigma is just as bad as the disease in itself.
Addressing the stigma around COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) of India stated that cases have been reported of people affected with COVID-19 as well as healthcare workers, sanitary workers, and police, who are in the frontline for management of the outbreak, facing discrimination on account of heightened fear and misinformation about infection. Further, certain communities and areas are being labelled, purely based on false reports floating in social media and elsewhere. Understanding the need to counter such prejudices, the MoHFW informed that although COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease, individuals can protect themselves through social distancing, washing hands regularly, and following sneezing/coughing etiquettes. It further mentioned that targeting essential services providers and their families will weaken the fight against COVID-19 and can prove grievously detrimental for the entire nation.