Sharing Without Shaming: Informing Others About COVID-19

Facts and information about the coronavirus pandemic are constantly changing. Visit the CDC site for the most up-to-date information during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Research shows that physical distancing and wearing a face mask can help prevent the spread of COVID-19; health authorities at every level recommend these basic prevention measures. Still, there are many who choose to ignore these recommendations. Shaming those who fail to follow coronavirus prevention measures isn’t the solution to the problem, however.

Be a positive voice during this uncertain time — share information about COVID-19 without shaming others. There are positive ways to inform others that wearing a mask and social distancing can help keep our communities safe.

Shaming others doesn't lead to positive outcomes. Spread kindness and reliable health information during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click To Tweet

What does shaming do?

COVID-19 shaming — ridiculing or humiliating those who do not wear masks or distance themselves from others — is happening in person and online. The hashtag #covidiot is circulating on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok.

While the threat of a potentially fatal virus is the focus during the COVID-19 outbreak, we can’t ignore how a global pandemic affects our mental health.

In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 45 percent of American adults surveyed reported that worry and stress during the coronavirus pandemic negatively impacted their mental health.

Shaming others creates stress and conflict, and it doesn’t encourage people to change their behavior.

How do you share information about COVID-19 without shaming?

Confronting people in person or participating in COVID-19 shaming online won’t get people to start distancing themselves or wear a mask. However, it is still important to educate the people in your life about coronavirus.

Promote reliable health information from credible sources on social media.

More people rely on social media for news now than ever before. Help provide accurate health information. Misleading videos about COVID-19 can go viral and get millions of views. Information isn’t true just because it’s widespread.

Help prevent the spread of misinformation by sharing information from reliable sources during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are a few examples of reliable sources for health information.

Educate those who are close to you.

There is a lot of information about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 circulating on social media, news outlets, and by word of mouth. Some of this information is well-researched and reliable. Some of this information is speculative or based on feeling rather than scientific research.

While you can’t inform everyone who walks by you, you can help educate friends, relatives, neighbors, and those you are close with. Provide links to reliable sources for health information.

Also, talk to your children about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and why it’s important.

Teach them why we wear masks, how masks work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and how to wear a mask properly.

Lead by example.

Research shows that wearing a mask can help mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Wearing a reusable cloth face covering is an easy and effective way to help keep your community healthy and safe.

Set a good example for those in your household and those in your community: wear a mask, distance yourself from others when necessary, and wash your hands frequently.

You can do your part to help inform those around you, but avoid COVID-19 shaming. Spread kindness and reliable health information during the COVID-19 outbreak.