A leading New York lawmaker said Monday that officials may be forced to temporarily bury the city’s coronavirus victims in local parks – as morgues and hospitals struggle to keep up with the increasing death toll, city councilor Mark Levine said on Monday.
“We will soon start with the temporary burial,” said Levine (D-Manhattan) wrote in a number of tweets. “This is likely to be done using an NYC funeral park (yes, you read that right). Trenches are dug for 10 caskets in a row. “
“It will be dignified, orderly and temporary. But it will be difficult for the New Yorkers to endure, “Levine wrote, adding in another tweet:”
He later cleared his tweets and said, “This is one way to prepare the NYC, BUT if the mortality rate drops enough, it won’t be necessary.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about the bleak matter during a press conference on Monday at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
“We may be dealing with temporary burials so that we can look after each family later,” said the mayor. We’ll have the capacity for temporary burials – that’s all I’m going to say. “
“I’m not going into details,” said de Blasio. “I don’t think it’s a great thing to talk about.”
However, Hizzoner mentioned Hart Island owned by the city – the city’s longstanding pottery field and the country’s largest public burial site, located just off the Bronx’s southeast coast in Long Island Sound.
“We will try to treat each family with dignity, respect the religious needs of the faithful, and the focus is now on overcoming this crisis and, of course, putting all our energy and resources into saving those we can save “, he added.
A spokeswoman for the city’s medical investigation office, Aja Worthy-Davis, told The Post that there are currently no plans for temporary burials, and that the freezers in the agencies’ facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn have “sufficient space.”
“We currently have no plans to bury anyone in city parks,” said Worthy-Davis, noting that the worrying scenario was mentioned in an earlier OCME disaster plan, but “it is not currently under construction.”
Levine explained that the morgues of the city hospitals have filled up and the chief’s office has sent 80 refrigerated semitrailer tractors with a capacity of 100 bodies to hospitals across the city.
“These are now mostly full,” said Levine. “Some hospitals had to add a second or even a third trailer.”
According to Levine, “grieving families report that they have called up to half a dozen funeral directors and found none that can deal with their deceased relatives” and that “cemeteries cannot handle the number of funeral requests and reject most.”
More than 2,470 people in the city have died from the effects of the corona virus, and more than 64,900 people in the city have tested positive for the virus.
“[T]The number of bodies continues to increase, ”Levine tweeted. “The freezers at the OCME facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn will soon be full.”
Additional reporting from Kevin Sheehan