Horrific Twitter thread by New York City health committee chair raises concerns on COVID-19 deaths
As the death toll resulting from the novel coronavirus continues to rise, some New York cemeteries are facing difficulties despite the ability to operate 24 hours a day. New York City has begun to store bodies in freezer trucks to accommodate the number of victims the pandemic has claimed. In a series of viral tweets Monday, Mark Levine, the chair of the New York City Council Committee on Health, claimed that officials are considering temporarily burying people who die from COVID-19 in local parks due to the number of increasing dead bodies and lack of space in freezers at Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) facilities in the state. “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,” he wrote.
The thread spoke about the difficulty grieving families are having in burying loved ones as funerals and cemeteries are unable to accommodate the increasing number of deaths following the coronavirus pandemic. “NYC’s healthcare system is being pushed to the limit. And sadly, now so is the city’s system for managing our dead. And it, too, needs more resources. This has big implications for grieving families,” Levine wrote. While he emphasized that the burials would be temporary and “tough for NYers to take,” he noted the goal was “to avoid scenes like those in Italy,” in which military officials have had to collect bodies from the street and churches. “Soon we'll start ‘temporary interment,’” Levine 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.”