As coronavirus fears grow, doctors and nurses face abuse, attacks
In some cities, health-care workers are earning standing ovations for the long, life-risking hours they’re putting in to battle the coronavirus. But in others, they’re facing discrimination and even attacks.
In Mexico, Colombia, India, the Philippines, Australia and other countries, people terrified by the highly infectious virus are lashing out at medical professionals — kicking them off buses, evicting them from apartments, even dousing them with water mixed with chlorine.
“I understand people are afraid, but abusing doctors is not okay,” Panigrahi said by phone from the industrial town of Surat. “We are at risk more than them.”
In her case, the harassment ended after local police and politicians intervened, Panigrahi said. Her neighbors apologized, saying they had been frightened by news about the virus.
But other health professionals continue to be stigmatized.