Infectivity was still present in one of the COVID-19 corpses after a post-mortem interval of 17 days and despite already visible signs of decomposition.
The duration of infectivity was impressive. Despite early transportation to the cooling chamber after death, the corpse displayed external and internal putrefaction due to the 17-day-period between death and autopsy.
From 28 March 2020 to 7 April 2021, we routinely performed postmortem PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA via nasopharyngeal swabs on all deceased cases prior to postmortem. Overall, 76 of 613 (12%) deceased individuals were positive.