Surely, no one should die alone, we are tactile beings. Is it not unbearable to think of the thousands of people whose final moments are in isolation, without their loved ones?

Of all the cruelties brought about by COVID-19 among the greatest is that so many die alone.

They die in hospitals where there is incredible pressure on the doctors and nurses who have little time to linger with a patient as death approaches.

A 13-year-old boy recently  become the UK’s youngest coronavirus victim — dying alone because of strict isolation procedures, according to reports.

The poor child.

People also die in nursing homes where staffing levels have dropped alarmingly and often family have not visited for weeks or even months.

They die at home, often isolated forced to bear their sickness on their own. 

The virus preys especially on the elderly and the poor, those most in need of compassion and care.

Read more: Innocents die but why is it we never learn?

They die frightened, despairing, alone with no dignity, with at best, only a stranger holding their hand. The most many can expect is a farewell on FaceTime to a distraught family or a nurse at the end of a phone telling a family the loved one has passed away.

"We are tactile beings, the holding of a hand, the eye contact, the familiar face would all make a profound difference in the dying room."

"We are tactile beings, the holding of a hand, the eye contact, the familiar face would all make a profound difference in the dying room."

Dying of COVID-19 is an infinitely serious and heartbreaking event. The need for a familiar touch is never greater. Yet the dying are denied that now. Even spiritual help for those who seek it cannot be offered because of the possibility of infection.

I understand the medical reasons, the need to protect the nurses and doctors and staff, but there should be a greater consideration given to what the patient is going through.

Surely one relative, properly masked, gloved and gowned should be allowed to be with the dying person for a few moments, hold his or her hand, tell them they love him or her?

We are tactile beings, the holding of a hand, the eye contact, the familiar face would all make a profound difference in the dying room.

It is incredible to me that over 12,000 human souls have departed this earth from New York alone these past few weeks since this deadly epidemic began. Many died alone, or among strangers, how many we will never know.

The final numbers will be more than many of us can bear. The notion that a loved person did not die alone would help relieve a little of these families' grief and pain.

There should be a way to do it.

Read more: Irish undertaker in NY on shocking burden on COVID-19 victim's families

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