Statistics from Johns Hopkins University show that on December 17 local time, 248,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,353 new deaths were reported in the United States.
So far, the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States has exceeded the number of deaths in September 11th for three consecutive days. The epidemic continues to worsen and the number of deaths continues to rise, which has brought heavy pressure to the funeral industry.
California is one of the hardest hit areas of the coronavirus epidemic in the United States. So far, the cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths in the state has exceeded 22,000.
Meanwhile, the available capacity of intensive care units has dropped to less than 3% of the total, and there is no even one available intensive care unit in Southern California, which accelerates the rise in the number of deaths.
Affected by this, the pressure on the local funeral home industry has soared. Many California funeral home staff said that this year is definitely the busiest year and also a very unfortunate year. Due to the sharp increase in deaths, the morgue is completely full, and there is no room for receiving other deaths.
The particularity of the remains of coronavirus patients has also led to more burdens. Under California law, remains that have died less than 24 hours must be kept in the freezer.
In addition, in order to prevent the spread of the virus, many funeral homes require the bodies to be kept in the freezer for at least 72 hours. This has led to extremely tight space for the body storage, and some areas have even had to purchase large quantities of frozen trucks to store the remains.
In addition to California, overwork in funeral homes is also very common in other areas. Three employees of a funeral home in South Dakota connect 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A staff member of the funeral home in Austin, Texas, also said that the recent business volume is five times that of the early stage of this year’s epidemic.