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Kent County Health Department Director responds to COVID-19 survivor stigma

Dr. Adam London photo
Kent County Health Department

Kent County’s Health director is asking residents to resist from stigmatizes individuals and groups who have recovered from COVID-19.

In Kent County, 149 residents have died from COVID-19. Of the 6,645 residents have contracted the disease, 5,204 have survived it.

Dr. Adam London, Director of the Kent County Health Department says many of them who have fully recovered are being stigmatized – shunned by some in the community.

“And the reality with these people who have fully recovered is you’re probably less likely to pick up infection from them as you are the random person on the street.”

Same goes for members of groups that have had higher rates of infections or have been disproportionately affected like members of Asian, Latino and African American communities.

“While those populations, in many cases, have seen more severe symptoms, that’s not because they’re more susceptible to infection. It’s because of other stressors in their environment. In many cases, lack of access to health care that has led to more severe symptoms.”

Dr. London recommends you base judgement on behaviors. He says people who engage in large gatherings, avoid wearing face masks and are dismissive of the pandemic pose a greater risk of contracting and spreading the virus.

I’m Patrick Center

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.