The death rate in general over the past few years has been unprecedented. The baby boomer generation has begun to die, and we are seeing more bodies than ever before. Add COVID to that and we're reaching a breaking point.Well, I guess the good news here is that if you catch delta and die your corpse will be in much better shape than it would have been had you caught alpha.
We get bodies out of ICU regularly, but not in the condition that these COVID bodies are in. They're tremendously swollen. If they've been on a ventilator, that often completely runs down their immune system. It also opens them up to a lot of sepsis and secondary infections that tend to hang around hospitals, like penicillin-resistant staph infections.
These folks were so swollen they were completely unrecognizable. We were also getting sent a lot of people who had died from COVID in nursing homes back at that time, and many of them had not been dead very long at all. Generally when we embalm, we utilize a major artery to inject the embalming fluid and we use its adjoining vein for drainage. The blood tends to settle out because it's no longer flowing and it'll gravitate to the dependent part of the body. The longer a body sits, the more blood clots that they develop. I was having people that had only been dead for a few hours and there were major clotting issues. The clots were the size of pancakes you never, never see those with someone who didn't die of COVID.
Many of the people who were in the ICU were on ventilators, and they put adhesive patches on their cheeks. They can easily become septic and they drip that septic saliva on the sides of their faces and the skin in that area gets infected ... So the body comes out in an almost unrecognizable condition, and then you have to explain to their family that their loved one doesn't look anything like what they should.
With this current surge from [the delta variant], I notice we're not getting bodies out of the nursing homes like we were the last time, most likely due to the fact that most of these old nursing home patients have been vaccinated. Right now the bodies I'm seeing are ranging from the late 20s to the elderly. We've had quite a few bodies in their mid-to-late 30s, 40s, 50s. I've also noticed that with delta, for the most part, these people were not spending nearly as much time in the ICU before they die. Sadly, that's been to our benefit because they're not in as bad of a condition as they were with the last surge.