Funerals Are Going Online

Illustration for article titled Funerals Are Going Online
Image: WSET

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.

Night blogger at Jezebel

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Living in a different country than my family, I’ve attended a few funerals via Skype. The first two were more than a decade ago - my cousin and my grandmother. I wrote things for my mum to read out at both.

I’m glad I wasn’t there in person for my grandmother’s. She was incredibly important to me, and the choices my dad made for her funeral - not to mention the eulogy that was devoted more to her two-decades-deceased husband - would have had me spitting fire in the middle of the parlour.