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'Last Responders' Brace for Surge in COVID Deaths Across US

By Cindy Loose

Funeral director Kevin Spitzer has been overwhelmed with COVID-related deaths in the small city of Aberdeen, South Dakota.

He and his two colleagues at the Spitzer-Miller Funeral Home have been working 12-15 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep up with the demand in the community of 26,000. The funerals are sparsely attended, which would have been unthinkable before the pandemic.

“We had a funeral for a younger man one recent Saturday, and not 20 people came, because most everyone was just afraid,” he said.

As COVID-19 has spread from big cities to rural communities, it has stressed not only hospitals, but also what some euphemistically call “last responders.” The crush has overwhelmed morgues, funeral homes and religious

Family people stress

Cindy Loose Kevin Spitzer

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