Maria Venetis got a breakthrough case of COVID-19 right around New Year’s Eve. When she called friends to cancel plans, she found herself overexplaining how and where she might have caught the virus—until one friend cut her off. “It doesn’t really matter,” Venetis, an associate professor of communication at Rutgers University, remembers her friend saying. In that moment, Venetis realized “there is no reason for me to point a finger about where I may have possibly gotten this.” COVID-19 is such a contagious and widespread disease that feeling guilty for contracting it is, at this point, illogical. But even with experts predicting that the virus will soon become endemic, the shame of getting it persists. Studies and anecdotal reports show that many people who test positive experience shame and guilt—perhaps because they regret accidentally exposing others, feel like failures for not doing enough to prevent it, or experience stigma online. To read the full story.