The US Funeral Industry Shockingly Unprepared For Coronavirus

New York, NY, March 17, 2020:

With the sudden outbreak of Coronavirus sweeping the US, the country braces for a disastrous pandemic that could kill millions of Americans. 

The Cremation Institute warns that the US funeral industry is gravely under resourced to deal with the inevitable spike in deaths.

The Cremation Institute are a group of experts, contributors, and researchers who work to create reliable resources for the funeral industry. Today they announced amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the US funeral industry should be preparing for an overwhelming increase in demand.

The US funeral industry needs to take all measures to prepare for mounting demand in the coming months – if not years. And according to Nancy Messonnier, the Director of the CDC “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen.”

Current State Of The US Funeral Industry

At a recent industry speech, President of The Cremation Institute, Adam Binstock said “I think we’re seeing the perfect Corona Storm. On one hand, the Trump Administration continues to deny the serious danger that this virus poses. So preventative measures for containing it have been delayed and careless. So when the inevitable spike in deaths occurs, the funeral industry won’t be able to cope.”

Binstock goes on to say “So realistically by this summer, we could see an increase in demand for funeral services by over 150%. I’m not sure how many death care corporations, let alone small independent providers can deal with this sudden increase in demand. We’re already seeing coffin shortages in China because factories have been temporarily been shut down. The problem is, China produces over 85% of the world’s coffins.”

Millions Of Americans Could Die From Coronavirus

As of March 17, 2020, the COVID-19 has claimed 7,548 coronavirus deaths and has climbed to 190,952 reported cases worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus has an estimated mortality rate of 3.4%.

With a mortality rate at least more than five times the level of the common flu, and with an offical pandemic declared, deaths within the US will inevitably soar over the next few years. Speaking on CBS News, Epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch from Harvard University, estimates that 40-70% of the world’s population will eventually become infected.

The Worst Is Yet To Come

Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director agrees with this prediction. Speaking to Congress he notes that “We will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now…Bottom line: it’s going to get worse.”

When asked to give predictions about potential US deaths Fauci said: “I can’t give you a realistic number until we put into the factor of how we respond. If we are complacent and don’t do really aggressive containment and mitigation, the number could go way up and be involved in many, many millions.”

The Funeral Industry Has An Obligation To Be Prepared

Funeral industry executives in the U.S. worry that misinformation surrounding the virus could cause funeral companies to ignore the mounting demand that will very quickly arrive around the country.

“It is paramount that every member of the Funeral Industry in the US prepare for a spike in numbers this year,” said Binstock. “In the U.K., innovations are being made to stream funerals online to cut infections as well as allow family to mourn the loss of a loved one. We could all follow this example as we work to modernize the industry in the face of global pandemic today.”

“We also have an obligation to employ strict safety standards both for death care workers and the community. The CDC should have already posted postmortem guidelines for dealing with coronavirus corpses.”

Bottom line is that the funeral industry owes it to families to be prepared and able to accommodate funeral wishes and requests. These families have been through the worst – at the very least, they should be able to have their loved one cremated. The funeral and cremation industries need to prepare for the COVID-19 surge.

Future Guidelines

In order to assist in this pandemic, The Cremation Institute will release information regarding the COVID-19 and industry guidelines as it becomes available. They have also created an online survey to measure the severity of the crisis on funeral providers.

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