Mass graves are set to be dug in New York City parks if the city’s rising coronavirus death toll continues to overwhelm morgues and hospitals, a health official said.
On Monday, New York City Council Health Committee chair Mark Levine wrote in a tweet thread: ‘Soon we’ll start “temporary interment.” This likely will be done 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.’
Levine continued: ‘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.’
The grim announcement came as coronavirus cases in New York state soared past 123,000 with over 4,159 deaths.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about the graves on Monday during a press briefing at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
‘We may well be dealing with temporary burials, so we can deal with each family later,’ the mayor responded.
‘I’m not going into details. I don’t think it’s a great thing to be talking about. It’s going to be tough, but we have capacity.’
In a later tweet, Levine went on to say that the mass graves may not be necessary if the death rate drops.
‘…I want to clarify: this is a contingency NYC is preparing for BUT if the death rate drops enough it will not be necessary,’ he wrote.
However, projections show the death rate continuing to rise for at least a few more days.
The latest model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics shows New York’s peak coming in four days – which is when 855 deaths are expected to occur in the state over a 24-hour period.
On April 9, the day before New York is expected to face its deadliest day in terms of the outbreak, the state is projected to need 76,000 hospital bed, although New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly reminded the country that the state has less than 55,000.
The models predict at least 16,000 New Yorkers will die from Covid-19.
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