The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asked that people stay away from funerals to avoid possible contagions and suggests livestreamed funerals so that large groups of people do not gather and increase risk of further infection.
Extreme prevention against the pandemic
Prevention measures against COVID-19 have become increasingly extreme due to how easily the disease spreads. Recommendations include avoiding physical contact with other people, constantly washing your hands and avoiding large groups of people. Health authorities in several countries have even called for the funerals to be canceled.
The CDC guidelines do say, however, that there is no evidence to suggest that it’s possible to directly catch the infection from a corpse.
In the United States, there are already more than 13,000 COVID-19 cases, and although only 176 people have died from the pandemic, the CDC suggests that the relatives of the deceased abstain from conducting a funeral.
Isolation not only affects funerals; any social gathering should have less than 50 guests according to the health agency.
Changes in funeral services
Countries like China and Italy where the virus has rapidly spread have banned funerals even for those who did not die from the virus.
The problem is that it is very difficult to deny people the right to say goodbye to their loved ones. That’s why a CDC epidemiologist, Dr. David Berendes, has indicated that there is always the modern option of virtually attending a funeral.
“As you think about planning for the event, limit the number of people if possible, use live-streaming options and perhaps have only immediately family on hand,” Berendes said, during a webinar on the latest guidelines.
Dr. Berendes noted that in these cases a small number of face-to-face guests might attend, perhaps only immediate family members.
The rest of the participants must watch the funeral through a live stream service.
This is a measure that combines President Donald Trump’s suggestion that social gatherings should be limited. Of course, Dr. Berendes said that those who attend in person must respect the rules of maintaining a reasonable distance between each person and avoid handshakes.