September 23, 2020

New York buried nearly 900 people in mass grave during pandemic


New York City has buried nearly 900 people in its Hart Island mass grave (The Bronx) during the COVID-19 pandemic and at its worst, in early April, saw the usual rhythm of burials multiply by the saturation of funeral homes and local morgues, local media reported Saturday.

From March 9 to Friday, a total of 894 people have been buried in Hart Island, the largest municipal cemetery in the United States, managed by the Department of Corrections and which for 150 years has received the bodies that nobody claims in the Big Apple or those who cannot afford a decent burial.

This 530,000-square-meter piece of land located on an island hosted some 1,100 burials last year, which is about twenty a week, while just last week on April 6, during the COVID-19 peak, it was buried 138 people, according to the NY Post.

That same week, the city stopped commissioning the inmates of the prison that Hart Island manages for reasons of containment of the coronavirus and instead hired a company, at a cost of about $ 320,000 until May 22, according to quoted figures from the Mayor’s Office.

Images of the mass grave with the coffins stacked, taken from the air, caused consternation between New Yorkers and the mayor, Bill de Blasio, assured that the idea was that the burials were temporary and the relatives who claimed the bodies could in the future celebrate a private burial.

New York remains the worst-hit state in the United States. due to coronavirus with 391,923 confirmed cases and 31,342 deaths, but now it has the lowest rate of transmission of the virus in the country and continues to progress in its indicators as the western and southern regions worsen, with daily case records.

At the peak of the pandemic, in April, New York hospitals, morgues, and funeral homes were in many cases forced to use refrigerated trucks to keep bodies waiting for families to bury loved ones.

There was the case of a Brooklyn funeral home that heaped dozens of bodies in moving trucks that did not have a refrigeration system, leading to the withdrawal of their license and the management of the bodies by local authorities.

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