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Good and ‘bad’ deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic: insights from a rapid qualitative study

Simpson, Nikita ORCID: 0000-0001-5260-3266, Angland, Michael, Bhogal, Jaskiran K., Bowers, Rebecca, Cannell, Fenella, Gardner, Katy, Lohiya, Anishka, James, Deborah, Jivraj, Naseem, Koch, Insa, Laws, Megan, Lipton, Jonah, Long, Nicholas J. ORCID: 0000-0002-4088-1661, Vieira, Jordan ORCID: 0000-0002-9278-6375, Watt, Connor, Whittle, Catherine, Zidaru-Barbulescu, Teo ORCID: 0000-0003-4258-561X and Bear, Laura (2021) Good and ‘bad’ deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic: insights from a rapid qualitative study. BMJ Global Health, 6 (6). ISSN 2059-7908

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Identification Number: 10.1136/bmjgh-2021-005509


Dealing with excess death in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the question of a good or bad death' into sharp relief as countries across the globe have grappled with multiple peaks of cases and mortality; and communities mourn those lost. In the UK, these challenges have included the fact that mortality has adversely affected minority communities. Corpse disposal and social distancing guidelines do not allow a process of mourning in which families and communities can be involved in the dying process. This study aimed to examine the main concerns of faith and non-faith communities across the UK in relation to death in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research team used rapid ethnographic methods to examine the adaptations to the dying process prior to hospital admission, during admission, during the disposal and release of the body, during funerals and mourning. The study revealed that communities were experiencing collective loss, were making necessary adaptations to rituals that surrounded death, dying and mourning and would benefit from clear and compassionate communication and consultation with authorities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Anthropology
IGA: Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 13 May 2021 09:21
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2022 12:42

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