The April 2020 issue of the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine included a letter reporting a single case of a “forensic medicine professional” becoming infected with and dying of COVID-19 in Thailand. The authors of the letter just issued a correction noting their regret that the letter was confusing; they stated it was not their intent to imply the professional died, nor could they confirm that the individual contracted coronavirus, through contact with a dead body.
The correction in the May issue reads, in part, “The authors did not mean to suggest that the victim had died, and that the authors do not know for sure and cannot scientifically confirm that the virus moved from the dead body.” Read the full correction here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1752928X20300743. (See also, "Scientists Now Say No, They Weren’t Reporting The First Case Of A Dead Body Spreading The Coronavirus.")
When the original letter was published (see: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1752928X20300718), NFDA contacted the CDC for comment. Following is their response:
Given a notable lack of details in the letter to the editor you reference from the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine it is impossible to know if the referenced forensic practitioner actually conducted an autopsy on a COVID-19 positive patient and, if so, used administrative controls or PPE to control workplace exposures, or garnered information from contact tracing investigations that were (or were not) adequately pursued to determine if the forensic practitioner had contact with known COVID-19 cases in the country, or had any other relevant travel history. It is important for your members to understand that this letter does not prove anything, but rather conveys the observations of the authors; notably, it lacks critical details supporting causality between exposure and outcome. The letter does not provide any strength of association between mortuary workplace tasks and activities that may have resulted in risks for exposure or transmission nor autopsy findings in either decedent supporting that COVID-19 disease was a cause of death.