In New York City, which consolidates its sad status as the center of the coronavirus epidemic in the United States, the question now arises of the fate of the increasingly numerous dead. So much so that the possibility of having to proceed soon to ” temporary burials In a park, to relieve overwhelmed funeral directors, has even been mentioned.
The images have struck the spirits in recent days: bodies, covered with sheets or tarpaulins, transported by employees in protective suits on stretchers in refrigerated trucks, now ubiquitous around the hospitals of the first American metropolis, where near 3,500 deaths were officially recorded on Monday.
In New York, 500 deaths per day
These trucks make it possible to store bodies which accumulate too quickly for the funeral directors to come and collect them directly from the hospital. On Monday morning alone, in less than an hour, AFP saw nine bodies loaded into trucks parked outside Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn.
Because with the increase in the death toll in New York State – where there have been regularly at least 500 new deaths per day for a week – several funeral directors interviewed by AFP said they were ” overwhelmed ». For Pat Marmo, who runs five funeral homes across the city, the stress of this influx of the dead is hard to handle, especially since he himself has just lost a cousin and a loved one in the city. epidemic.
« The hospitals are pushing us to come and collect the bodies, but we don’t have the premises to manage them
», He explains. ” It’s like September 11, 2001 that would last for days and days », He summarizes.
“If the need increases”
The funeral directors are so overloaded that an elected municipal official spoke on Monday of the possibility of carrying out ” temporary burials »In a municipal park. ” This will likely be done using a municipal park for burials (yes, you read that right). Trenches will be dug for rows of 10 cercueils, ”said this elected representative of northern Manhattan, Mark Levine, on his Twitter account.
In a city already transformed by the pandemic, with tents for the sick pitched in Central Park, this statement immediately struck people. But the town hall quickly qualified the point. ” We do not currently plan to use any parks as cemeteries “Said spokesperson Freddi Goldstein.
Mayor Bill de Blasio himself spoke on Monday of the possibility of ” temporary burials ” for ” hold out until the end of the crisis ». « We’re not there, I won’t go into details “, He nuanced during a press point. New York, the densest city in the United States with already more than 72,000 people infected, hopes not to come to that.