More than 600 bodies of New Yorkers who died during the COVID-19 crisis this spring still remain stored in freezers in the city, reported this Sunday the newspaper The Wall Street Journal.
Last April a emergency morgue on the Brooklyn County Boardwalk, where roughly 650 bodies of victims of the pandemic whose families cannot be located or They can’t afford a burial The Office of the Medical Examiner of the city pointed out to the New York newspaper.
While the fate of these bodies is still unknown, the city prepares to face a second hello of the pandemic.
According to the data provided by the forensic office, they have had trouble locating family members of about 230 deceased.
In those cases, it is not uncommon for the deceased to have been separated from their families and that the details of the closest relatives may be incorrect.
Dina Maniotis, deputy executive director of the forensic office, recalled that all families have right to request a free burial on Hart Island and that some families are confused about what to do.
The newspaper also points out that before the pandemic, most, if not all, of the deceased would have been buried within a few weeks in a grave for homeless people on Hart Island, which is located on Long Island Sound, very close to the Bronx.
The mayor, Bill de Blasio, promised in April that no mass burials would take place following reports that the city was considering the use of temporary graves on Hart Island.
“This has been traumatic. We are working with them as kindly as we can and persuading them to make their plans. Many of them will decide they want to go to Hart Island, which is fine,” Maniotis said.
Between mid-September and mid-November the number of bodies stored dropped from 698 to 650.
The newspaper highlights that the forensic office it was not created to cope with a global pandemic that has killed thousands of New Yorkers since the emergency was decreed last February.
This agency has 15 employees They are responsible for identifying the bodies and seven other people are responsible for contacting relatives, who during the crisis flooded the office with calls seeking information about relatives who may have died, advice on how to request a death certificate, see the body of a loved one and make funeral arrangements.
The Department of Health came to his aid, sending more than 100 employees to manage call volume, that increased from the usual 30 to 40 a day to 1,000 a day.