Some health professionals who tested positive to the coronavirus have said they experienced discrimination from friends, often to a very distressing level.
“We can feel the fear from those around us,” said a health professional who got infected with the virus at the hospital where she works.
“Apart from having to deal with the virus itself, now I have to face a change of attitude towards me from people who I consider to be close. They treat me like I am a different person now.
“People are suspicious, to the point of being afraid of even calling me to see if I’m fine, as if they will get the virus over the phone. Friends suddenly distanced themselves from me and only my family remains close.”
The health worker says she doesn’t understand the change of mentality.
“I wonder whether they will treat us the same after all this is over,” she said.
Another health worker said she received similar treatment and claimed she has been treated like a criminal despite having taken all precautionary measures since she found out she was positive.
“I stayed home from the moment I found out about it, as my doctor suggested. But that hasn’t stopped people from stigmatising me and treating me like a social pariah,” she said.
The health worker added that the only telephone calls she received were from people who had asked her whether she was wearing a mask the last time they came in touch with her.
“They don’t care about me, they are only afraid they have been contaminated. I cannot understand people’s way of thinking. It is as if we wanted to contract the coronavirus. This is not the case, it’s not our fault, the virus found us in our workplace.”
Psychologist Haris Petrovic tried to analyse the behaviour and reactions of people who have been infected with the coronavirus.
“People who are or have been sick have mixed feelings about what’s happening to them,” he said.
“Their emotions range from guilt, fear, anxiety and uncertainty about their conditions. All these feelings leave a trace in a person who is faced with dealing with an unknown situation.”
The psychologist said that the psychological perception of the world during a crisis such as the pandemic is often a pessimist one.
“We tend to focus on the negative aspects of the world. We catastrophise, we see everything either black or white and, as a result, we give in to sadness and fear. We must, therefore, change the way we think. We need to remain calm and, most of all, follow the measures and decrees put in place for our own safety.”