Bodies of hundreds killed by Covid still being stored in trucks in New York

·2-min read
*** BESTPIX *** NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 06: Refrigerated trucks functioning as temporary morgues are seen at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 06, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. New York City's Medical Examiner are now operating a long-term disaster morgue at Brooklyn's 39th Street Pier, where human remains will be kept inside freezer trucks, in an effort to provide relief to funeral directors overwhelmed from the COVID-19 crisis. (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images) (Getty Images)
*** BESTPIX *** NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 06: Refrigerated trucks functioning as temporary morgues are seen at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 06, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. New York City's Medical Examiner are now operating a long-term disaster morgue at Brooklyn's 39th Street Pier, where human remains will be kept inside freezer trucks, in an effort to provide relief to funeral directors overwhelmed from the COVID-19 crisis. (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Bodies of people who died from coronavirus last spring are still being stored in refrigerated trucks in New York City.

Even though a year has passed, some bodies still remain interred in the trucks, which sit alongside the waterfront in Brooklyn.

According to outlet The City, last week the New York City Chief Medical Examiner acknowledged that the remains of around 750 victims of Covid-19 were still being stored inside the refrigerated trailers.

During a meeting on Wednesday, officials said they would try to reduce the number of dead in the trailers sometime soon.

According to Dina Maniotis, the deputy commissioner with the medical examiners office, said that many of the bodies may end up buried on Hart Island.

The island - which is largely closed to the public and sits off the shoreline of the Bronx - has long been the burial site for the city's unclaimed dead and the poor.

Hart Island is only a mile long, but it is also the largest mass grave in the US.

“We will continue to work with families,” Ms Maniotis said during the committee meeting. “As soon as the family tells us they would like their loved one transferred to Hart Island, we do that very quickly.”

Up to one-tenth of the city's coronavirus dead may end up buried on Hart Island, according to an analysis between The City and the Stabile Center for Investigative Reporting at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

According to the analysis, at least 2,334 adults were buried on the island in 2020, which is nearly double the number of burials in 2019.

In addition to the influx of bodies to Hart Island, the pandemic also forced the city to rely on refrigerated trailers to ensure bodies could be appropriately stored at a time when hospitals and funeral homes were overwhelmed with victims of the coronavirus.

The trucks were parked outside of hospitals during the worst of the pandemic and became an iconic symbol of how deadly the virus had become.

The virus hit New York City hard as the pandemic took root in the US. The medical examiner's office soon was awash with bodies.

In a normal day, the medical examiner was equipped to handle up to 20 dead bodies. During the height of the pandemic, the office was seeing as many as 200 per day, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Long-term storage was created at the height of the pandemic to ensure that families could lay their loved ones to rest as they see fit,” Mark Desire, a spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office, told the Associated Press last week. “With sensitivity and compassion, we continue to work with individual families on a case-by-case basis during their period of mourning.”

Ms Maniotis said that most of the families of the individuals stored in the trucks have chosen the Hart Island option for ultimate burial.

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