Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in the San Francisco Bay Area, has performed autopsies under many different circumstances. The current COVID-19 pandemic, however, poses new challenges in terms of protecting herself and her colleagues and limiting the spread of the deadly virus.
“We are used to dealing with contagious pathogens like tuberculosis, hepatitis and HIV. COVID-19 is different only in that there is currently no treatment… and it is more resilient in that it sticks around the dead body after death,” Melinek recently told The Times of Israel.
While populations are being told to practice social distancing — to keep two meters away from other people to avoid transmitting the virus by coughing or sneezing — Melinek and her colleagues at the Alameda County Sheriff Coroner’s Office in Oakland, California, have additional means of infection to contend with.
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