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Ten million Britons unable to attend funerals in lockdown – The Guardian

Two-thirds of bereaved UK adults had nothing to help them grieve, says study

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Nearly 10 million people were unable to attend the funeral of someone they knew during lockdown, according to a new study from the UKs largest undertaker, which warned that the nation is heading towards a national grief pandemic.
In its report, Co-op Funeralcare found Covid-19 restrictions meant that 9.7 million mourners had to stay away from cremations and burials. The figure is based on an estimate that 243,000 funerals went ahead in the UK during lockdown with an average of 10 attendees due to coronavirus rules, compared with 50 in normal times.
Warning of the long-term psychological impact of being unable to grieve properly, the study said the UK could experience a prolonged period of mourning for months, or even years, to come.
The report, called A Nation in Mourning, looked at Co-op Funeralcares own business data and YouGov research also supported by charity Cruse Bereavement Care. It found that nearly two-thirds (61%) of UK adults who had experienced a loss during lockdown said they had had nothing to help them to grieve.
The chain the UKs largest funeral director with more than 1,000 funeral homes conducting almost 100,000 funerals each year defines lockdown as from 23 March to 5 July.
Government guidelines, drawn up following lockdown in conjunction with ethicists and faith leaders, permitted only close family members to attend funerals while observing physical distancing. Some local councils, however, went further and prohibited any attendees at crematoriums and gravesides.
When asked for the new research about the most important way to say goodbye, 42% of UK adults chose being present when their loved one passes away, while 33% chose attending a funeral or memorial service.
David Collingwood, director of funerals at Co-op Funeralcare, said: A funeral provides a sense of closure for bereaved families and is very often the start of the grieving process. Sadly, the recent restrictions mean an estimated 243,000 bereaved families have been denied the right to say goodbye to their loved one in the way they would have wished.
We completely supported the need to introduce these restrictions at the beginning of the devastating coronavirus pandemic in the UK. Tragically, we dont yet know what the long-term psychological effects will be for families denied the last opportunity to say goodbye, so it is vital that we do everything possible to allow families and individuals to attend funerals, whilst always prioritising the health and safety of our communities.
In April, Co-op Funeralcare warned that funeral homes could go bust without government support because they were shouldering the cost of staging stripped-back services for coronavirus victims. Families did not require the traditional but costly extras where funeral services make their profit such as limousine hire, flowers and chapel of rest viewings.

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SpaceX: Musk’s ‘Mars ship’ prototype aces 150m test flight – BBC News

A prototype of the engine for SpaceX’s next-generation Starship vehicle has made a 150m test “hop”.

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The test flight lasted less than a minute
A prototype of SpaceX’s next-generation Starship vehicle has successfully flown to an altitude of 150m (500ft).
The uncrewed test vehicle rose up on a plume of exhaust before deploying its landing legs and touching down softly.
The flight was carried out at SpaceX’s test site near the village of Boca Chica in south Texas on Tuesday evening.
It’s the first flight test in almost a year for the Raptor engine, which w…

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Massive ancient temple complex may lurk beneath famous Northern Ireland fort – Live Science

Navan Fort has been viewed as a sacred site for thousands of years.

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The remains of “monumental temples” dating to the Iron Age and medieval buildings may be hidden underground at Navan Fort, an archaeological site in Northern Ireland, a new study finds. 
Exactly what’s left of these ruins, however, remains to be seen. Archaeologists discovered the buried structures by using remote-sensing techniques that allowed them to map the hidden landscape and detect anomalies, such as architectural features made by humans. 
These Iron Age and medieval buildings suggest t…

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Surprisingly dense exoplanet challenges planet formation theories – Phys.org

New detailed observations with NSF’s NOIRLab facilities reveal a young exoplanet, orbiting a young star in the Hyades cluster, that is unusually dense for its size and age. Weighing in at 25 Earth-masses, and slightly smaller than Neptune, this exoplanet’s ex…

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New detailed observations with NSF’s NOIRLab facilities reveal a young exoplanet, orbiting a young star in the Hyades cluster, that is unusually dense for its size and age. Weighing in at 25 Earth-masses, and slightly smaller than Neptune, this exoplanet’s existence is at odds with the predictions of leading planet formation theories.
New observations of the exoplanet, known as K2-25b, made with the WIYN 0.9-meter Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, t…

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