New York City officials said they are looking into digging trenches in a park for the “temporary internment” of caskets containing people who died from the CCP virus, as the number of deceased is piling up without the capacity for proper burials. However, in a later press conference, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he “[has] not heard that this is an issue” and downplayed the possibility.
The number of people dying from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus in New York City has outpaced the city’s systems to handle them. It came as the number of deaths in New York state dropped for the first time on Sunday, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
New York City Council health committee chair Mark Levine wrote on Twitter Monday that “we need to face the gruesome reality that we need more resources to manage our dead as well.”
“Soon we’ll start ‘temporary interment,'” he wrote, adding that it will likely “be done by using a NYC park for burials (yes you read that right).”
“Trenches will be dug for 10 caskets in a line. It will be done in a dignified, orderly—and temporary—manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take,” Levine added.
Hours later, in an attempt to clarify his remarks, Levine said it is only a contingency that New York City officials are preparing, but it might not be necessary if the city’s COVID-19 death rate drops.
This tweet has gotten a lot of attention. So I want to clarify: the is a contingency NYC is preparing for BUT if the death rate drops enough it will not be necessary. https://t.co/6wLO8qWtML
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) April 6, 2020
The city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told ABC News that there are currently no plans to bury CCP virus victims in New York City parks.
When asked about it Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said temporary burials could be used but declined to comment on the issue further several times.
“I’m not going to go into those kind of details. We will have the capacity we need,” the mayor said in a press conference. “We may well be dealing with temporary burials so we can then deal with each family later.”
And asked whether workers have to take special precautions when handling deceased CCP virus patients, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city’s health commissioner, told reporters that none are needed.
“No special precautions need to be taken with individuals who died from COVID-19,” she said. “We’ve made the comparison to other infectious illnesses in the past. With Ebola, there were very specific precautionary measures that needed to be taken so that would not continue to be spread. This is not like that.” She was referring to the Ebola virus outbreaks of Africa.
Neither de Blasio, Barbot, or Levine elaborated on what New York City park could be used to bury the dead.
Levine, a Democratic City Council member who represents Upper Manhattan, told the New York Times that the only possible sites used for mass burials would be a city park or Hart Island, which is a secure area used by the city’s Department of Corrections where prison labor is used to bury the dead. Hart Island is located near the Bronx.