By Tank Murdoch

(TNS) Just when you thought that the craziness surrounding the coronavirus outbreak had reached its peak, even if the spread of COVID-19 hasn’t yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come out with yet another recommendation.

For funeral homes.

As reported by Vice, the CDC is advising morticians to “livestream” funeral services in order to reduce exposure to COVID-19:

The new disease, which has killed more than 6,500 people worldwide since it emerged in China in late 2019, has put an end to social gatherings around the world. In the United States, the CDC advised organizers to cancel or postpone any events of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks across the country. This extends to “large funerals,” said David Berendes, an epidemiologist with the CDC. (It also applies to weddings, which should also be canceled.)

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“If livestreaming and limiting events to immediate family is possible, we encourage that,” Berendes said, adding that for anyone visiting funeral homes to have some hand sanitizer with them (or at the home itself, better yet), and for funeral directors to “stagger” services to cut down on the number of people in the home overall.

More. The CDC also 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 agency. “At a minimum, people conducting these activities should wear disposable gloves.”

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The CDC also notes that a disposable gown, googles, and masks are also likely to be needed in some cases.

Funeral directors are not concerned as much with contracting the virus from the dead, Vice notes. Rather, they’re more concerned about getting it from a visiting family member attending a funeral service. Livestreaming will, of course, reduce that exposure.

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Also, according to Vice:

The risk is there when the mortician picks up the body from the home or hospital morgue, and at the eventual funeral (though family members who have been exposed to the virus should, in theory, be in an at-home quarantine). This scenario has already played out in Spain, where 60 of the country’s 430 coronavirus cases were tied to a single funeral service, The Guardian reported on March 7.

There’s a supply-chain shortage of PPE — personal protective equipment — as well, thanks to no shortage of idiots.

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“The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a global disruption in the supply chain of personal protective equipment,” said Jill Shugart of the CDC’s National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety.

And though funeral directors are being prioritized for PPE, the CDC notes that goofs like Matt Colvin, who stockpiled 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer, have made face masks, respirators, and other equipment much harder to find.


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