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.
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.
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.