New York City is transforming into Wuhan, China, a sight that we showed readers on Thursday morning of body bags piled up at one Manhattan area hospital.
Now there are reports of crematories in the city, extending hours, and burning bodies into the night, with the expectation that corpses could be sent to upstate cemeteries as capacity has been reached.
We noted last week that morgues in the city were "nearing capacity" and would be full by the first week of April. It appears limits have been reached as the fast-spreading virus has resulted in more than 92,381 cases statewide and 2,373 deaths, with much of the carnage seen across the five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.
"We've been preparing for a worst-case scenario," said Mike Lanotte, executive director of the New York State Funeral Directors Association (NYSFDA), "which is in a lot of ways starting to materialize."
Directors at the NYSFDA said several of their locations in the city had reached their maximum workload of 10 to 15 bodies per day, straining resources.
New York has relaxed air regulation rules to allow crematories to burn throughout the night, similar to what we reported in Wuhan in January/February:
- Wuhan Crematorium Inundated With Coronavirus-Infected CorpsesDoes A Sudden Surge In SO2 Levels Suggest A Huge Surge In Cremations Across China?
- 'Burning Bodies In Secret' - New Accounts From Wuhan Detail Coronavirus Outbreak
- More Evidence China Is Lying; Number Of Urns More Than Double Reported Coronavirus Deaths
JP Di Troia, president of Fresh Pond Crematory in Queens, told Reuters that the pandemic is the most devastating thing he has seen in five decades of business.
"No one could really imagine this happening," Di Troia said," well not if you read Zero Hedge. We've been documenting the spread of the virus since early January:
Another crematory, located in Brooklyn, called Green-Wood Cemetery, has seen a surge in bodies, now taking in 15 to 20 bodies per day, nearly doubling its capacity in the last week, according to cemetery president Rich Moylan.
Di Troia and Moylan said the latest influx of bodies at their facilities is unprecedented in their five decades of operation. They said the closest comparison would be the September 11 attacks.
"My fridge is full," said Andrew Nimmo, manager of Bergen Funeral Service Inc, which can store about 40 bodies. "I can't get people out (to crematories) right away."
With bodies piling up and crematories working overtime, 45 refrigerated tractor-trailers were dispatched to the city last week to act as temporary morgues.
The makeshift morgues line the streets around some area hospitals in Manhattan, are being used to relieve the stress of the hospital system that has been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
With the mortality rate expected to surge, Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, warned on Wednesday that the virus death toll could hit 240,000 across the US. In the last month, the epicenter of the virus has transitioned from the West Coast to the Tri-state area.
David Fleming, legislative director for the New York State Association of Cemeteries, said bodies could be shipped to crematories upstate to alleviate the strain around the city.
"It's not a crashing system. We do have plans in place if there needs to be release of capacity from the city to more outlying areas," Fleming said.
Here's evidence that New York City's healthcare system has transformed into Wuhan in the last several weeks:
For those of you who continue to think or say that #Covid-19 is being exaggerated or its not that big of a deal. You can see in this video hospital workers in New York dragging dead bodies into 53'ft trailers.— UNREGULATED MEDIA (@unregulatedm) March 31, 2020
Still dont think its that serious? #stayhome and #stayhealthy pic.twitter.com/5fmEMj2S8R
New video (not mine) from #NYC where bodies of the victims of #COVID19 line the sidewalk outside a hospital for transfer to a mobile morgue unit. #NewYork #coronavirus #FlattenTheCurve #CoronaUpdate #Quarantine @NYCEMSwatch pic.twitter.com/sJm6gQh7qT— Sam (@gotmybelton) March 29, 2020
New York hospitals full of coronary patients— 🚩سیدمصطفی دارابی (@darabism) April 1, 2020
A painful video from Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, New York City, where coronary patients' bodies are piled up!#coronavirus pic.twitter.com/a6mKvwmP5r