A group of 6 attended the funeral during the first week of March, Livenews Nigeria reports. This was before the CDC announced its social distancing directives to funeral directors on March 16, which advised funeral homes to make live-streaming available for services.
The funeral had taken place in Kershaw County, which encompasses Camden, South Carolina. A married couple—both over the age of 60—was part of the group that passed away. They died days apart from each other.
“They attended that same funeral and unfortunately passed away from COVID-19,” coroner RobbieBaker said of the couple. “They came back to Sumter, got sick, and I was notified they had passed. Unfortunately, a large number of people congregated at that funeral, somebody there was infected with it, spread it, and just didn’t know it.”
The other four people who died were also over the age of 60—a group that’s at high-risk to contract the virus—and were all black. Coronavirus has hit the elderly and black the hardest in South Carolina and across the U.S.
Many of those who attended the funeral have self-quarantined.
Earlier this week, news surfaced of the first person contracting COVID-19 from an infected dead body. At this point, little is known about how long the virus can live in dead bodies or how it’s passed on once a person dies. Now, not only are healthcare workers at risk of contracting the virus, but medical examiners, morgue technicians, and people who work in funeral homes.