WHO Chief: 'Stigma Is More Dangerous Than The Virus Itself'

Chris Menahan
Mar. 04, 2020

"Stigma" is "more dangerous" than the coronavirus itself, according to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Stigma, to be honest, is more dangerous than the virus itself," Ghebreyesus announced during a press conference on Monday as the official global death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 3,000.

"And let's really underline that: stigma is the most dangerous enemy," he said.

"DO - talk about the new #coronavirus disease (#COVID19). DON'T - attach locations or ethnicity to the disease, this is not a 'Wuhan Virus', 'Chinese Virus' or 'Asian Virus'. The official name for the disease was deliberately chosen to avoid stigmatization," WHO tweeted.

"DO - talk about people 'acquiring' or 'contracting' #COVID19. DON'T - talk about people 'transmitting COVID-19' 'infecting others' or 'spreading the virus' as it implies intentional transmission & assigns blame," WHO said in a follow-up tweet.

"Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died," Ghebreyesus said during a press conference on Tuesday. Previous estimates suggested a mortality rate of around 2%.

WHO has yet to release statistics detailing how many people have died from "stigma" surrounding the virus.

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