DARK WINTER: COVID-19 Death Toll, "Green" Body Storage & Burial

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

The Coronavirus pandemic is rapidly spreading, causing millions of deaths worldwide. Recently, 4,000+ souls dying daily in the U.S. (more than died on 9/11; equal to 18 full 737 airplanes falling out of the sky)...

GLOBALLY: 95,000,000+ cases / 2,000,000+ deaths U.S.: 24,000,000+ cases / 401,000+ deaths CALIFORNIA: 3,000,000+ cases / 33,500+ deaths straining hospitals, funeral homes, morgues, mortuaries with limited space to store bodies of Covid-19 victims.

Bodies Are Piling Up

Last year medical distributors were being besieged by emails and calls from cities around the country asking to send more refrigerated trailers to handle the COVID 19 corpse overflow situation. Christie Penzol, a spokeswoman for Med Alliance said, It’s heart-wrenching... They’re coming from all over: From hospitals, health systems, coroner’s offices, VA facilities, county and state health departments, state emergency departments, senior living facilities, and funeral homes.”

This Winter it has gotten worse as the demand for refrigerated containers to store bodies of COVID Victims is increasing rapidly.

Human Body Preservation

When dealing with corpses it is important to keep them cool for both morticians as well as family and friends who depend on their work. Corpses begin to decay and decompose if cold temperatures in storage facilities are not properly maintained. Consequently, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for remote temperature monitoring solutions.

Refrigeration is widely accepted as the most "green" method for storing a body, as it causes the least amount of impact on the planet, does not add any chemicals to the earth once the body is buried and decomposing, and does not expose funeral home workers to harmful chemicals.

Green Burial Alternatives

Burying bodies takes a toll on the environment. Toxic chemicals from the embalming, burial, and cremation process leach into the air, water, and soil, plus expose funeral workers to potential hazards. And maintaining the fresh, green memorial plots in cemeteries is extremely land-and-water-use heavy.

For this reason, scientists and conservationists have been looking into more eco-friendly and sustainable ways to bury the dead. Green burial alternatives are becoming more widely known that protect and preserve the environmental ecosystem for the benefit of future generations.

For example, burning your body into ashes to be scattered into the ocean is becoming increasingly common. In fact, more than 60% of Californians prefer cremation to a burial according to the Cremation Association of North America. While cremation is less harsh on the environment than traditional burial, the process is still harmful. It still releases dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere, including—carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, plus heavy metals, and mercury emissions from dental fillings.

Other eco-friendlier ways consist of foregoing embalming (formaldehyde and phenol are noxious and possibly carcinogenic), getting buried in a wood-only casket, and using alkaline hydrolysis instead of cremating. Additional options include biodegradable caskets—bamboo, paper, wool, banana leaf, willow, etc.

Even more eco-friendly and sustainable burial practices that protect and preserve the environment have been introduced in the past few decades that provide meaningful memorials for friends and family to visit for commemoration—two notable examples: Eternal Reefs (sustainable ocean burials) and Burial Pods (biodegradable urns) with trees planted on top of them.

Eternal Reefs

Burial Pods

Additional Resources:

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Remote Temperature Monitoring

Low-cost frioguard wireless systems monitor and send notifications about the temperatures in body refrigerators as well as temporary storage facilities—step out of your funeral home, hospital, morgue or mortuary with confidence knowing frioguard will alert you or your staff if any temperature fluctuations require attention while you're away.

Affordable & Scalable

Many remote monitoring solutions have large initial costs, offer limited battery & sensor life, and don't easily integrate with additional sensors or scale on the same platform—meaning funeral home, morgue and mortuary operators must maintain multiple systems. Grow your system as your operation grows—AVAYO's affordable and scalable frioguard remote monitoring solutions have you covered with 30+ IoT sensors. Initial system setup takes less than 20 minutes and you can scale with additional sensors as other unique needs surface or as you expand.

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