NYC Braces for Possibility of Mass Burials in Park for 'Temporary Interment'

Elias Hubbard
April 7, 2020

As the death toll from coronavirus in the United States climbed toward 10,000, a New York City official warned it could establish temporary burial grounds in city parks and new polling showed an erosion in public trust in Donald Trump's handling of the crisis. "And sadly, now so is the city's system for managing our dead", declared Levine in a series of Twitter posts, noting that New York City's morgues, funeral homes, and cemeteries are having to deal with "the equivalent of an ongoing 9/11".

Levine didn't say which park authorities were considering for the grim objective, but he said it would be one "out of the way of the public", the New York Times reports.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that no such plan had been put in place yet, although he acknowledged it was under consideration. "We may well be dealing with temporary burials so we can deal with each family later", de Blasio told the New York Times.

Levine, however, said in an interview: "This is definitely not in the hypothetical stage now". "I don't think it's a great thing to be talking about".

"It will be done in a dignified, orderly-and temporary-manner".

Hospitals are already using refrigerated trucks to temporarily store bodies of victims. And still the number of bodies continues to increase.

However, a few hours later, Levine released another tweet clarifying that the temporary burials are a "contingency NYC is preparing for" but will not take place if the "death rate drops enough".

"We are relying on freezers now to hold bodies, but that capacity is nearly entirely used up", he said, describing temporary interment as "essentially an extension of the freezer system".

A spokeswoman for the city's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed to The Post that burials in parks is an option listed in a disaster plan, but the office now has no plans to bury anyone in city parks. "On an average day before this crisis there were 20-25 deaths at home in NYC".

Levine said because of this, they will be using NYC parks as "temporary internment".

Levine says the goal here is to avoid what Italy has gone through. "We will have the capacity for temporary burials, that's all I'm going to say".

Cuomo said the state government was applying to the Trump administration to have the USNS Comfort, a U.S. navy medical ship docked in NY, converted to taking Covid-19 patients. Whoever you are, we want to hear from you so our news coverage is as complete, accurate and useful as possible.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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