Funerals Are Going Online

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Livestreaming has replaced in-person social gatherings for the foreseeable future, with everything from hanging out with friends to attending the opera having suddenly become an activity that involves a screen. But you know what else is an in-person gathering you can’t attend in the age of covid-19? A funeral.


The CDC told morticians across the country today that social distancing applies even when burying the dead, which is both understandable and totally hellacious for those in mourning. According to Vice,

The CDC discourages mourners from “kissing, washing, and shrouding” someone who has died from confirmed or suspected coronavirus. “If washing the body or shrouding are important religious or cultural practices, families are encouraged to work with their community cultural and religious leaders and funeral home staff on how to reduce their exposure as much as possible,” according to the CDC. “At a minimum, people conducting these activities should wear disposable gloves.” But a disposable gown, googles, and masks may be necessary in some cases.

David Berendes, an epidemiologist with the CDC, also said that while livestreaming is preferable, those who do visit funeral homes should be prepared to use hand sanitizer, and also suggests staggering funeral services to avoid too much overlap.

Does it make sense? Yes. Does this totally suck? Also yes.



I’m not at all worried about handling a body with suspected covid19. Proper use of PPEs will pretty much keep you safe, and if you’re a professional, you should already be safeguarding yourself and disinfecting instruments and surfaces after preparing the body.

What I do find worrisome, however, is how to deal with families. I wish the CDC had put forth a mandate saying that visitations can only be for immediate family members, and for a limited time. Otherwise the onus falls on us to be the “bad guys” and say that it is recommended to keep it to ten people, and there are some family members that just won’t hear that, and end up going someplace else. There is always someone willing to do whatever the family wants, and that’s going to end up fucking everything up.