Earlier this week a national reporter called me to ask some questions about COVID-19 and how it might relate to the funeral industry as more and more deaths occur. My prediction on the services front was that even if we hit the range of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths that the administration is now predicting, that is an annual increase of between 3% and 8% over America’s annual 2.8 million annual deaths. So, it is something that I believe America’s death care professionals are prepared for.
However, I also pointed out that that increase, if proven correct, will not be uniform to all locales and it is my expectation that there will be many more deaths in locales that are being termed “Hotspots” and many less deaths in some areas. And, when those deaths in “Hotspots” come, they will come not gradually over the course of the year. . . .they will all come within an approximate 6 week period. That means that funeral directors, cremation workers, and cemetery workers in those “Hotspots” are going to be incredible “slammed” and on the job 24/7 for that period of time.
Here are a couple of articles on how those colleagues working in today’s “Hotspots” are doing. My hat goes off to all of these workers in these areas right now. They deserve our appreciation and our applause for how they are serving their communities in this time of need. A little prayer for them would not hurt either.
- Exposed, Afraid, Determined. New York Times Magazine. This article features those on occupational front lines that not everybody thinks about. Among others they feature a flight attendant, a pharmacist, a firefighter, and a mail carrier. Funeral director Steve Barton of the Seattle area is also featured. According to the article he has taken care of about 25 COVID-19 deaths at the time of the writing.
- New York City crematories work overtime as coronavirus brings backlog of bodies. Yahoo News, originally published by Reuters.
- New York considering loosening requirements for funeral directors as bodies pile up. Politico.
- Coronavirus latest: Second mortuary being built by East London as death toll soars. A video story from U.K. Express.