Tags: Coronavirus | Health Topics | funerals | cdc | virus | pandemic

CDC Recommends Livestreaming Funerals to Avoid Crowds

a priest speaks at a funeral service
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By    |   Thursday, 19 March 2020 01:52 PM

The current pandemic is affecting every area of our lives — even death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending livestreaming funeral services to prevent close contact with others in accordance with social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Fox2detroit.com reports that during a Facebook live event with the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the CDC suggested that funerals may continue with a strict 50-person limit but strongly recommended that services be livestreamed.

The agency also discouraged certain behaviors common to funeral services such as kissing or hugging, which could contribute to the spread of the disease. Again, a six-foot distancing minimum between people is recommended.

The CDC also noted: "There is no known risk associated with attending a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who has died from COVID-19," but warned against touching the body.

The agency added: "There may be less chance of the virus spreading from certain types of touching, such as holding the hand or hugging after the body has been prepared for viewing," wrote the CDC in its new guidelines.

According to BBC News, Dr. David Berendes, an epidemiologist with the CDC, told the webinar:

"As you think about planning for the event, limit the number of people if possible, use livestreaming options and perhaps have only the immediate family on hand."

Kaiser Health News reports that as more funeral workers handle bodies potentially infected with the COVID-19 virus, they are increasing precautions to avoid disease. Workers transporting bodies are advised by health officials to use facemasks because bodies can expel the virus when moved. The CDC has called for disinfecting the outside of body bags.

Funeral directors are watching closely as public health officials work to slow the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases. They want to avoid the Italian fiasco where traditional funerals have been outlawed and bodies are piling up in hospital morgues.

As a result, the demand for virtual funerals is surging. Funeral-related websites, including eCondolence.com and shiva.com, have seen a "tremendous increase" in online traffic, Michael Schimmel, chief executive of Sympathy Brands, an online marketplace, told Kaiser.

"People just want to do the right thing," he said.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending livestreaming funeral services to prevent close contact with others in accordance with social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
funerals, cdc, virus, pandemic
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2020-52-19
Thursday, 19 March 2020 01:52 PM
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