More than 48 million people all over the world have now been infected with Covid-19, with many countries on their second or even third wave of infections.
With virus rates on the rise in many areas, there’s a chance you’ll know someone who is suffering with, or has had, the disease, and while it’s tempting to try to put a positive spin on a difficult situation, if you’re not careful, you could overstep the mark with an ill-timed joke or unsympathetic comment.
Here are seven things you should never say to someone who has contracted Covid-19…
1. Isn’t it just the same as a cold?
It’s true that Covid-19 can share many of the same symptoms as the common cold, such as coughing, sneezing, a headache, and fever, but it can be much more severe than that, even for people who aren’t in a vulnerable demographic or have an existing health condition.
Don’t just presume anyone healthy and below a certain age is going to be able to shake off the sickness in a matter of days.
2. You don’t seem very ill
Beyond the ‘visible’ symptoms, such as a continuous cough, coronavirus can also cause a variety of very unpleasant side effects that aren’t always so obvious, with patients reporting a wide range of symptoms, including extreme fatigue and a loss of smell or taste.
Just because someone doesn’t ‘look’ very ill or hasn’t had to go to hospital, doesn’t mean they’re not suffering. Definitely don’t tell anyone to ‘man up’ either – not only is that unsupportive, it’s sexist.
3. Are you sure you’ve actually got it?
While the only way to really know if you have Covid-19 is to take a test, usually with a swab inside the nose, if a person is choosing to self-isolate, why not help them with grocery shopping instead of casting doubt on their self-diagnosis?
4. At least you can have some time off work
Being struck down with a dangerous disease is not the same as taking annual leave, so you should not feel envious if a friend or family member has to stay off work for a few days.
Chances are they’ll be bed bound and exhausted the whole time, and then they’ll have all that work to catch up on when they return.
5. Maybe you should have been more careful
Even the most cautious person, who always wears a face mask, maintains social distancing and washes their hands whenever they go out and come home, could still catch Covid. It’s unfair to imply that the reason they’re ill is because they broke the rules.
6. It’s good you’ve got it over and done with
No one wants to get sick. Plus, one in 20 people are likely to suffer from ‘long Covid’, with symptoms lasting eight weeks or more, according to a study using data from the Covid Symptom Study App. Don’t forget that someone who has had the virus may still continue to feel unwell much later down the line.
7. You’re lucky you’ve got the antibodies now
Just because someone has had Covid once doesn’t necessarily mean they now have the antibodies in their system, and are immune to catching it again.
Until there’s a proven vaccine, no one is 100% safe, and we could all inadvertently spread the virus without knowing, so nope, they are not ‘lucky’ to have caught Covid.