As coronavirus death toll mounts and morgue space dwindles in New York, mass graves are being dug in the cities public cemetery on Hart Island to bury unclaimed bodies. A video has emerged of coffins being stacked up with workers in hazmat outfits using a ladder to descend them into a huge pit. New York officials said that the Hart Island has been a public cemetery for decades and it will continue to serve as the resting place for unclaimed coronavirus victims.
As per the data by Johns Hopkins University, at least 16,686 people have died of coronavirus in the US and nearly half of the fatalities have taken place in New York. Of the total 4.6 lakh coronavirus positive cases, about 1.6 are in New York.
According to some estimates, the US is likely to see nearly 60,000 deaths by August and many of them would be in New York, the current epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States of America. To some respite, this estimate has come down from 82,000 last week. However, the projection of deaths in New York has increased in this model by the Institute for Health Metrics.
New York calls more funeral directors
Meanwhile, the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered to bring in more funeral directors as the number of coronavirus positive cases in the state went above any other country in the world except the US. After his order, now licensed funeral directors from other states will be allowed to practice in New York.
The Chief Medical Examiner of New York has also extended the time a body can be kept in custody to 14 days. On a normal day, the Hart Island Cemetary will see 25 bodies a week. These bodies are mostly of poor people whose families can't afford to even hold a proper funeral or those who are not claimed by their relatives.