Covid-19 Is Helping Wealthy Countries Talk About Death

October 16, 2020

(The Economist) – A new survey by Hospice uk, a charity, found that this year 40% of British who lost a family member to covid-19 wrote down their end-of-life wishes, and a third planned their own funerals. (Overall, less than a fifth of Britons have done either.) More people are opting to die at home: since early June the percentage has been 30-40 points above the five-year average in England and Wales. Reminders of the epidemic—not just news reports but masks and hand-sanitiser bottles—raise the subliminal awareness of death which psychologists term “mortality salience”. “We are surrounded by death whether we like it or not, and it is healthier for us to accept it,” says Tracey Bleakley, head of Hospice uk.