Don’t get Panicked about dead bodies following Corona Infection

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By Arijit Dey August 24, 2020

COVID-19 is a disease caused by “Novel corona virus” (Ncov-19). This virus majorly affects human lungs causing, respiratory disorder. This COVID (Corona Virus Disease) was first detected in Wuhan, China in December, in the previous year.

The symptoms of this disease are not that much life threatening at the very first stage. But, as the respiratory disorder is involved with this disease, this can turn into a very fatal condition. The common symptoms of this COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, sneezing, fatigue, sore throat etc. In terms of symptoms, it mimics the symptoms of common cold. So, until test is run with the nasopharyngeal sample, collected from the symptomatic person, nobody can be sure whether the person is affected by COVID or not.

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Now, the question is how the virus of covid-19 is transmitted?

Mainly, the virus of this disease spreads through respiratory droplets from an infected person. Some people don’t show any symptoms after being affected. But, after a span of few days the affected, face problems like, difficulty in breathing. Older people (age more than or around 60 years) are highly prone to be affected with co-morbidities such as- hypertension, cardiac problems, diabetes, asthma etc. Around 5% of the total affected have died due to COVID­-19 till date worldwide.

But, the fact is the virus is transmitted from one living individual to another. There is a very least chance of spreading the virus from dead bodies of infected people. But, is there any reason to panic about the dead bodies? The answer is obviously ‘No’. If you follow some precautions, it is really safe.

After death, some precautions should be followed to handle dead bodies, so that the virus can’t be spread. The precautions are as follows:

1.  If a person dies in hospital and his/her body is needed to perform autopsy then the body should be isolated in a different ward. The body should be covered with plastic bag and should be preserved with precaution.

2. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is mandatory for those, who will perform autopsy. While performing autopsy, contact with body fluid, blood that Oozes from infected body should be avoided.

3.The body must be infected after autopsy with 1% Sodium Hypochlorite solution.

4.If the family members of the patients wish to see the dead body after performing autopsy, then proper precautions must be maintained. The family members should be provided PPE from hospital authority while visiting morgue.

5. The vehicle, including trolley must be sanitized properly after transferring the body to crematorium or Burial Ground.

6.Family members must use gloves, masks while performing rituals. Hands should be washed properly with soap. If not possible minimum 60% alcohol containing sanitizer should be used time to time. Gathering will not be allowed as per Government instructions. Social distancing should be maintained while performing rituals.

7.Touching or hugging the dead body should not be allowed.

8. Aged person, children should not be allowed at crematorium or Burial Ground.

9. People must maintain social distance at funeral while performing ritual.

10. As the ash of dead body does not contain the living virus, so it has no capability to spread the infection. The ash can be collected to perform rituals and can be immersed in river, according our Hindu culture.

11. After completion of cremation, all staffs and family members must be sanitized properly and they should wash their hands with soap-water or sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

Now, the fact is that, these dead bodies can’t spread out infection furthermore. Why?

We must keep in mind that this virus only spread via respiratory droplets. The person in very close proximity (minimum 5 m) with the affected have a tendency to be affected. Otherwise, the droplet will fall down due to gravity. So, after death, there will be very least chance of transmission of the virus in community through the handling of the dead body. But if the fluid comes out from mouth or nose of the dead body, then there is a huge chance of contaminating other people. The hospital staffs who were involved in wrapping the dead body, must wear PPE and should properly disinfect the plastic bag containing dead body. Clearly, there is not that much chance of spreading virus from the dead bodies. But personal protection while handling the bodies is a must. So, the probability of being affected from dead bodies really decreases. But for safety, personal protective gears are must.

Therefore, we have reached the conclusion that we should not panic while handling dead bodies. But it should be kept in mind that personal protection is required while handling them. Proper respect should be paid in his/her funeral.

That’s it from our side. Hope you enjoyed it.

Let’s meet the author: Arijit Dey

Image may contain: Arijit Dey, text that says ') SHOT ON MI A2 MI DUAL CAMERA'
Arijit studied B.Sc(Hons) in Physiology at Vidyasagar Metropolitan College and currently Studies M.Sc. Human Physiology at Rammohan College
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