Some Alaskans who recovered from COVID-19 say they faced social stigma - Anchorage Daily News
Sep 15, 2020 1 min, 24 secs

Kathryn Elam of Fairbanks has recovered from COVID-19, and has talked about the stigma surrounding it.

After Kathryn Elam recovered from a relatively mild bout of COVID-19, she was surprised by some of the reactions she received.

“Most (people) were glad to see me back, but then a couple of them, I’d come towards them and I’d see them physically take a step back,” said Elam.

Elam, 54, is a registered nurse in Fairbanks, a mother of three and the cousin of the first Alaska resident to die in the state of COVID-19.

Others said they were protective of their privacy, worried about what the reception would be at work and thought some might be prejudiced against people who had COVID-19, even though they were no longer contagious.

But with the coronavirus, he said, the added concern is that people are worried they might be judged for not being cautious enough, or for not following health mandates closely.

Chandler said some of the stigma people experience also exists because it’s a new virus, about which we still know relatively little.

“We’re not aware of anyone (with COVID-19) who is contagious for more than 10 days,” Chandler said.

Soon after she had recovered, Towsley said she ran into someone she knew in the grocery store who asked her if she had tested negative yet.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Elam, the Fairbanks nurse, said she took the virus extremely seriously.

In the months since she has recovered, Elam said, she still encounters people who react badly when she tells them she had COVID-19

Now, Elam said, when she meets people who’ve also tested positive, she knows exactly what to say

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