THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE DEATH FUNERAL OF A COVID PATIENT
14 July 2021
The COVID pandemic has been continously creating an havoc across the globe with a high increase in the moratilty rate of the COVID virus infected patient. This is undoubtedly an heart thriving moment for any person in the world but the most pathetic moment is all the family members and the dear one's can't even able to see the dead body of the COVID affected patient as the person has to be sent to the cremation ground in order to prevent the spread of the infection as well as the further complications.
In general, whichever part of the world it might be, everyone has their own belief and follow certain traditions and norms which they feel is right. They get completely adapted to these procedures and make their mind in accordance to these formats but unfortunately due to the novel COVID pandemic, there were lot many changes been made in the whole lifestyle, even including the way of conducting the death funeral for the dead body. This has created a lot of controversy issues among the large groups of the people across several countries.
In our world, majority of the people prefer to bury their dead but the WHO has issued an elaborated instruction to not bury the dead body of the COVID patient as the pathogen transmits through droplets. It requires body fluids to transmit the novel corona virus expelled while talking, coughing / sneezing and by breath aerosol but since dead bodies do not breathe, the chances of droplet infection from the dead is very less. However, a dead body often has fluids like saliva, phlegm, and blood oozing out and those could be a source of virus.
This is the reason why there are clear national guidelines on how to handle dead bodies. Currently, funerals are largely arranged by the trained professionals who themselves are protected by PPE and the close relatives are only allowed to see the dead with adequate protection and without getting into contact in any way. In case of burial of the dead, it usually takes 7-10 days for the decomposition of a body and it also retains fluid for 3-4 days which gradually poses a higher risk for the one's who were present at the funeral.
When the dead person has to be buried, then few strict preventive measures has to be taken before, while and even after burying of the dead body at the burial ground. Firstly, before the burial of the dead body, the respective person who is responsible for arranging the funeral has to make sure that the grave in which the body has to be buried has been digged to a deeper feet, so that the chance of the spread of the virus be much lesser and also it has to be very shallow which is fit enough to bury the dead.
Then the dead body should be placed in a leak proof plastic body bag, the exterior of which can be contaminated with 1% hypochlorite. The bag can be wrapped with a mortuary sheet or sheet provided by the family members. While unzipping of the bag for viewing the face of the dead, the nose and mouth should be plugged to prevent oozing out of any body fluids and must not be bathed or touched. While burying, large group of people may be a risk and also the person has to be completely covered with the soil while wearing the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). In case of cremation, the body has to be cremated immediately after the death. As ashes don't present that risk, it is generally considered as much safer way of conducting the death funeral of the COVID dead patient.
In India, the Union Health Ministry allowed both the burial and cremation of the dead body in the manner wished but we have to remember only one thing, the dignity in death is recognised as a human right world over and provide the moral support during the crisis of faith in the final journey of the humans.