Hundreds of bodies from are still being stored in freezer trucks set up as disaster morgues during New York City’s coronavirus surge (Picture: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The bodies of hundreds of people who died during New York City’s coronavirus surge back in the spring are still being stored in freezer trucks used as temporary morgues.
Many of the 650 bodies at the makeshift morgue on the Brooklyn waterfront are of people whose families cannot be located or are unable to afford a proper burial, officials told The Wall Street Journal.
Medical examiner officials said they are having trouble locating the relatives of around 230 of the victims.
Others whose next of kin have been reached either have not collected their relative’s body or declined to make funeral arrangements for financial reasons.
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The Statue of Liberty in the background (Picture: Reuters)
Normally, the deceased would have been laid to rest within a few weeks in a cemetery dedicated for the impoverished on Hart Island.
But when Covid-19 deaths in New York soared to as many as 800 each day, Mayor Bill de Blasio ruled out mass burials in temporary graves.
The city is slowly reducing the number of bodies in storage, with the number declining from 698 to 650 since mid-September, according to Dina Maniotis, the chief medical examiner’s office’s executive deputy commissioner.
Refrigerated trailers used to store bodies of deceased people (Picture: Reuters)
A medical examiner’s van leaving a disaster morgue at South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (Picture: Getty)
The bodies are being stored at the makeshift morgue on the Brooklyn waterfront (Picture: Reuters)
New York State has reported at least 34,187 deaths of people due to Covid-19, according to data from John Hopkins University.
According to a recent report from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30% of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital there did not survive.
The image of freezer trucks being converted into temporary morgues to store the dead became a symbol of the devastating impact of the virus on the city.
The image of the trucks symbolised the devastating impact of the virus on the city (Picture: Reuters)
Speaking at a press conference in April, Mayor de Blasio said: ‘These are people who no one after a period of time has claimed them, and not just Covid victims, but victims of all diseases, all reasons for fatality.
‘Because there’s just been unfortunately more people passing away, including those who are not claimed by any family, that’s what’s been happening at Hart Island, but that’s the only thing that’s been happening at Hart Island.’
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