The person who told me the story is in fact a highly-respected police officer.
He said township residents fear more for their lives from their neighbours finding out that they had been infected, than the actual disease itself.
He told me that some people fear being dragged out of their shacks and set alight, even if they are just doing a precautionary self-quarantine.
I found it very hard to believe, but I have since heard stories of stigmatisation from several other people.
So it obviously needs some serious attention, especially considering that there are people on social media who insist on spreading fake news about Corona.
I think my surprise came mostly from the fact that information about Covid-19 is just about everywhere these days.
It’s displayed on shop fronts, ATMs and in every single bit of media.
You can barely turn without encountering bullet-point facts about the disease and how to safeguard yourself.
So how then is it possible for there to be a stigma around people who contract it?
The biggest concern here is that township residents may feel too fearful to go into home quarantine, if they fear they may have been exposed.
And they certainly won’t want to announce it to anyone, for the same reason.
But that means they remain a risk for others whom they interact with.
This scenario becomes even more critical now that some people are returning to work and a level of hygiene complacency sets in.
If there is a quiet stigma that has developed, then we could soon find ourselves surrounded by infected colleagues showing no obvious symptoms, but who are too scared to say anything; not just because they fear their neighbours, but also they fear being forced to stay at home again, without an income.
It is a perfect storm that could make Covid-19’s pending infections peak in a few weeks’ time, a whole lot worse.
Clearly much more needs to be done to educate our people, not just about how deadly this virus is, but also how victims cannot be held responsible for being infected.