New York may bury bodies in park because morgues nearly full

New York has announced it might start temporarily burying victims of coronavirus in a park because the city’s morgues are almost full.

The chairman of the city council health committee said morgues were now dealing with “the equivalent of an ongoing 9/11” as COVID-19 spread.

“Trenches will be dug for 10 caskets in a line,” Mark Levine said on Twitter.

Workers set up a field hospital in front of Mount Sinai West Hospital inside Central Park
Image:Workers set up a field hospital in front of Mount Sinai West Hospital inside Central Park

“It will be done in a dignified, orderly – and temporary – manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take.”

Hospital morgues – which typically hold around 15 bodies – are full, so 80 refrigerated lorries have been sent to hospitals but they too are close to capacity.

Funeral homes are overwhelmed and the city’s cemeteries cannot process burials fast enough.

Mr Levine added: “It’s not just deaths in hospitals which are up. On an average day before this crisis there were 20-25 deaths at home in NYC.

More from Covid-19

  • Coronavirus: Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after condition worsens

  • Coronavirus: Unions call for administrators to protect workers

  • Coronavirus: Doctors at Spain’s largest hospital ‘winning COVID-battle little by little’

  • Coronavirus: Will ‘coronabonds’ help Europe’s economic recovery?

  • Coronavirus: Elton, McCartney and Stevie Wonder set for TV special to thank health workers

  • Coronavirus lockdown: Too early to say when measures will be reviewed

“Now in the midst of this pandemic the number is 200-215.

“The goal is to avoid scenes like those in Italy, where the military was forced to collect bodies from churches and even off the streets.”

::Listen to Divided States on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Spreaker

Although it was currently only a contingency plan, Mr Levine said it might start happening “soon” and that New York was entering what was expected to be the worst week of the crisis so far.

Death rate in New York shoots past global peers
Image:Death rate in New York shoots past global peers

The location of the park earmarked by officials has not been revealed and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “I don’t want to go into detail because I don’t think it’s a great thing to be talking about publicly.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *