Hundreds of bodies are being buried by workers wearing in hazmat suits at a mass grave on New York’s Hart Island with the rise of coronavirus deaths.
As the number of burials quadruples amid the coronavirus pandemic and the city’s death roll rises to 4,778, dozen contracted laborers were seen digging and burying the bodies in caskets – some of which had names carved on them – on Thursday.
Previously, New York city used Hart Island to bury people with no known next of kin or whose family are unable to arrange a funeral since the 19th century and about 25 bodies were buried there once a week but the number began increasing last month as the new coronavirus spread rapidly and New York became the epicenter of the pandemic.
They are now burying about two dozen bodies a day, five days a week, DailyMail.com has been told.
Currently, 4,778 people have died from coronavirus in the city and 87,725 have been infected.
Under a new policy, the medical examiner’s office will keep bodies in storage for just 14 days before they’re buried in the city’s potter’s field on Hart Island.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has so far not confirmed whether burials for coronavirus victims had been or would take place there but indicated this week the city might resort to using the island for temporary burials during the pandemic.
‘We may well be dealing with temporary burials so we can then deal with each family later,’ he said.
‘Obviously the place we have used historically is Hart Island.’
Those currently buried on Hart Island include people who haven’t been identified, unclaimed bodies and people whose families could not afford burial costs.