In light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, people from all over the world are coping with losses so severe and devastating.
There have been several reports of patients dying alone and in isolation with no opportunities for their families to be with them during their dying moments. Even phone calls were not allowed to prevent people from approaching them.
Italy: the New Epicenter
In Italy, certain restrictions and changes have been implemented for funeral practices to help the country deal with the number of deaths. Funeral services have been altogether banned in the country only with a simple blessing over the deceased allowed.
According to Worldometers, the virus has already infected 339,709 people all over the world with a total number of 14,704 fatalities. Italy is now the epicenter of the virus with almost 60,000 positive cases and a death toll surpassing China’s with 5,476.
In Bergamo, Italy, coffins are lined up and awaiting burial in churches. Those who died in their homes are being kept in sealed-off rooms for days to allow for the Italian province’s funeral services to cope with the overwhelming numbers.
In a statement made by Antonio Ricciardi, the president of one of Bergamo’s largest funeral companies, they have carried out 600 burials and cremations since March 1, 2020. A typical month for them would only have 120 funeral services, he claims. In over two weeks, a generation has died in their region, a thing never before seen or experienced in Italy.
Empty Pews and Funeral Homes
In the United States, a mourning family bid their final farewell to a loved one who succumbed to COVID-19. While the church normally fits 500 people, the deafening echoes of the priest’s voice sounded eerie to the 15 people present during the ceremony who are seated at least six feet apart.
Funeral homes in the US, in Italy, and the UK are cancelling all funeral memorials, reducing their services to graveside services or cremation.
In Italy, the overwhelming number of bodies being brought for cremation is unprecedented in the nation’s history. Crematoriums in the northern part of the country have exceeded their capacities after performing over 170 cremations in just one week.
While under normal circumstances, building a crematorium in the UK would be a lucrative business move to consider, the worldwide tragedy is making it hard for people to see past the pain and the suffering.
Some funeral companies are adapting to the current state of the world and are resorting to other means that will still allow families to grieve and mourn while preventing the spread of the virus. Others are holding virtual funeral services using the aid of technology. The casket in which the body is in lies in an empty room with a virtual audience who can attend funeral services online using their mobile devices and gadgets.
Unlike other private businesses and establishments, funeral services are essential to the community, especially at this time. If someone passes away from the dreaded disease, these are the people we call in to get the job done of taking care of our loved ones’ remains. They cannot afford to close down unlike bars, restaurants, and other services.