NYC Official Says City Is Preparing To Dig ‘Trenches’ In A Park To Bury The Dead
The Chair of the New York City Council’s health committee Mark D. Levine said Monday that the city is overwhelmed by the number of deaths from the coronavirus and that they’re preparing to dig “trenches” in a city park to bury the dead.
He later clarified that “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.”
During his Monday news conference, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he hadn’t heard about the plan. “I have heard a lot of wild rumors but I have not heard anything about the city burying people in parks,” he told reporters. Read Levine’s Twitter thread below:
NYC’s “city morgue” is the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), which luckily is the best in the world. But they are now dealing w/ the equivalent of an ongoing 9/11. And so are hospital morgues, funeral homes & cemeteries. Every part of this system is now backed up. 2/ — Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) April 6, 2020
Grieving families report calling as many as half a dozen funeral homes and finding none that can handle their deceased loved ones. Cemeteries are not able to handle the number of burial requests and are turning most down. 4/ — Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) April 6, 2020
Early on in this crisis we were able to swab people who died at home, and thus got a coronavirus reading. But those days are long gone. We simply don't have the testing capacity for the large numbers dying at home. 6/ — Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) April 6, 2020
And still the number of bodies continues to increase. The freezers at OCME facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn will soon be full. And then what? 8/ — Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) April 6, 2020
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. OCME is going to need much more staff to achieve that goal. 10/ — Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) April 6, 2020
As New York City continues to appeal to the nation for help, we need to ask not just for doctors and nurses and respiratory therapists. We also need mortuary affairs staff. This is tough to talk about and maybe tough to ask for. But we have no choice. The stakes are too high. 12/ — Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) April 6, 2020
To recap: Nothing matters more in this crisis than saving the living. But we need to face the gruesome reality that we need more resources to manage our dead as well. Or the pain of this crisis will be compounded almost beyond comprehension. 13/13 — Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) April 6, 2020
As of Monday, the virus has killed 4,159 in the state. The number of daily deaths fell for the first time Sunday when 594 deaths were reported, compared to the previous day where there were 630 deaths. “You could argue that you’re seeing a slight plateauing in the data, which obviously would be good news,” NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday, calling the promising data a potential “blip.” The number of coronavirus patients in the hospitals and ICUs continues to climb. Moreover, the number of deaths in the city, alone, increased to 351 on Sunday.