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NYC reportedly set to temporarily bury bodies of COVID-19 victims in a local park if the death toll does not slow down


Dystopian nightmare

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

New York City will reportedly bury some of its dead in a local park if the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate all municipal resources — including managing the influx of deaths due to the coronavirus.

What are the details?

According to a report in The Week, New York City Councilmember Mark Levine made the announcement on Monday.

Levine — who is chair of New York City Council health committee — insisted that the city's medical examiner is "now dealing with the equivalent of an ongoing 9/11" due to coronavirus-related deaths in the city.

"It's not just deaths in hospitals which are up," he wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread. "On an average day before this crisis there were 20-25 deaths at home in NYC. Now in the midst of this pandemic the number is 200-215. *Every day*."

He continued, "A typical hospital morgue might hold 15 bodies. Those are now all full. So OCME has sent out 80 refrigerated trailers to hospitals around the city. Each trailer can hold 100 bodies. These are now mostly full too. Some hospitals have had to add a 2nd or even a 3rd trailer."

"Grieving families report calling as many as half a dozen funeral homes and finding none that can handle their deceased loved ones," he added. "Cemeteries are not able to handle the number of burial requests and are turning most down."

Levine insisted that in order to prevent the city from becoming fully overwhelmed, it seems that there is no other choice but to temporarily bury the city's coronavirus victims in a temporary spot.

"Soon we'll start 'temporary interment,'" he wrote. "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. It will be done in a dignified, orderly — and temporary — manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take."

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

What's next?

Levine later clarified that the process would begin if the death toll did not slow.

He wrote, "This tweet has gotten a lot of attention. So I want to clarify: the is a contingency NYC is preparing for BUT if the death rate drops enough it will not be necessary."

At the time of this writing, New York City has seen at least 67,820 cases of COVID-19. At least 2,475 have died because of the virus.

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