With forensics, COVID-19 dead can tell fresh tales on pandemic


Posted at Jun 24 2020 04:35 PM

Funeral home workers carry a cadaver reported to be a COVID-19 case to a Quezon City crematorium on April 2, 2020. A forensics-based approach to managing pandemic fatalities will help policymakers better understand the disease, a member of the academe said Wednesday. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- A forensics-based approach to managing the dead due to COVID-19 will help policymakers better understand the disease as they navigate the country through the pandemic, a member of the academe said Wednesday.

At the same time, protocols should consider the mental health of those left behind by coronavirus fatalities who should also be protected from discrimination, said Tess de Guzman, Associate Dean for Planning and Development at the UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences.

Prompted by queries from academics and scientists who see the need to bring science at par with politics and the economy in the national conversation on COVID-19, De Guzman is helping UP Manila organize a webinar on forensics during a pandemic.

"There's not much in the news about how to manage the dead, also the potential mental health effects on the family," she said. "After cremation, it's as if all you get is a piece of charcoal."

Current protocols require cremation of COVID-19 fatalities. De Guzman said an autopsy of the bodies, with proper protocols observed, will help doctors understand the effect of the virus on specific organs.

The webinar, Forensics and Pandemics: Concepts, Challenges and Planning Ahead, will be broken up into 4 lectures over 4 days: July 1, 8, 15 and 22. Sessions will run from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Interested parties can register on this link. De Guzman said some 2,000 participants had registered as of Wednesday.

The Philippines as of Tuesday counted 31,825 COVID-19 cases, including 1,186 deaths and 8,442 recoveries.