New York City officials are beginning to map out plans to bury victims of the coronavirus on public land as a temporary fix for overhwlemed funeral homes.
Some city morgues are already past capacity and the number of deaths in the city is expected to continue to rise over the next few weeks.
“If we need to do temporary burials to be able to tide us over to pass the crisis, and then work with each family on their appropriate arrangements, we have the ability to do that,” he said, adding, “We may well be dealing with temporary burials so we can deal with each family later.”
— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) April 7, 2020
After his comments, the mayor’s press secretary tried to clarify, “We are not currently planning to use local parks as burial grounds. We are exploring using Hart Island for temporary burials, if the need grows.”
New York City council member Mark Levine said the city was “prepared for the worst” but “continue to hope and pray the worst won’t come to past.”
He also acknowledged that the “normal system for handling the deceased is under strain.”
It may not be New York alone, either. Axios reported that America’s funeral homes are already being crushed by the coronavirus.
FEMA has asked for 100,000 military-style body bags to go toward major cities being hit by the virus. And Massachusetts is already setting up temporary morgues on college campuses.
“This feels like three years of funerals condensed into a month,” Patrick Kearns, a funeral director in Queens, told the website.
He added, “So many of us were worried about the front end of this virus. Unfortunately, the back end of it is something people hadn’t thought about.”
There have now been over 11,000 deaths from coronavirus nationally and nearly 400,000 people have tested positive for the virus.
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