The disease it produces, coronavirus pneumonia or COVID-19, is seen as a serious threat that is especially primed with older people and people in general poor health, and is spreading more rapidly, following an exponential progression.
But, there is something that is important to check out.
In situations that create uncertainty, information becomes more valuable than ever. And it is clear that the spread of the coronavirus disease fits in with that kind of ambiguous situation where there is much speculation about what will happen: something like this has never happened (because this kind of virus had never jumped from animals to human), and at the same time the media constantly bombards with news related to this, often exaggerating about its dangerousness taking into account the little that is known about the health risks it entails.
That is why, unfortunately, these cases of massive contagion are capable of harming many people because of the importance that is given to rumors. Rumors are ultimately pieces of information whose value lies in the speed with which they pass from one person to another at the cost of not having been validated, contrasted with the rigor they deserve.
And that explains that they tend to overlap with stereotypes, making marginalized minorities and the most excluded people and residents of small communities more likely to be stigmatized, whether they are really infected or not (and despite the fact that on many occasions the discrimination they suffer can act as a barrier against contagion, paradoxically).