COVID-19 bodies ‘likely’ to be buried in parks

The bodies of coronavirus victims will "likely" be buried in public New York parks as the death toll mounts and morgues become overwhelmed with corpses, according to a Manhattan councillor.

As of Monday afternoon local time, 130,000 New Yorkers had tested positive for the virus, with 16,000 of those in hospital, and 4758 deaths statewide. Nationwide, more than 321,000 people have been confirmed to have contracted the disease and over 10,000 have died.

 

Manhattan councillor Mark Levine today announced that the borough was preparing to "start temporary interment" to cope with the COVID-19 crisis as morgues and hospitals struggle to cope with the body count. His comments come as the US enters its most critical week in the pandemic.

"The number of bodies continues to increase," Mr Levine tweeted on Monday local time.

"The freezers at Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn will soon be full. And then what?

"Soon we'll start 'temporary interment'. This likely will be done by using a NYC park for burials (yes you read that right). Trenches will be dug for 10 caskets in a line."

 

 

Mr Levine said the OCME, hospital morgues, funeral homes and cemeteries were now dealing with a situation on par with 9/11 and that authorities were scrambling to find internment spaces.

"It will be done in a dignified, orderly - and temporary - manner," he wrote.

"But it will be tough for NYers to take.

"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."

 

 

On Monday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo warned residents that "now is not the time to go playing frisbee in the park".

"We are over capacity for the number of ventilators in the whole system … we are into plan B, C, D that we outlined," Mr Cuomo said at his daily news briefing.

"We are into all backup plans that we had".

 

Refrigerated trucks have been set up as mobile morgues throughout New York City. Over the weekend, disturbing images emerged showing bodies of COVID-19 victims stacked in bright orange bags inside a makeshift morgue outside the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned on Fox News on Sunday that hard times were ahead but "there is a light at the end of the tunnel if everyone does their part for the next 30 days".

"This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives, quite frankly. This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localised," he said.

"It's going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that." Places such as Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, DC are starting to record rising deaths.

New coronavirus infections and deaths are showing signs of slowing in Spain and Italy. New York, the centre of the US outbreak, also reported a dip in the number of daily deaths, though authorities warned it's too early to tell whether it's just a blip or the start of a trend.

 

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin

 

Originally published as Bodies 'likely' to be buried in parks


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