COVID19: Unclaimed bodies buried in mass graves in NY

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As New York City continues to grapple with the  high number of deaths due to coronavirus, City officials have hired contract labourers to bury the dead in its potter’s field on Hart Island .

Officials has used Hart Island to bury New Yorkers with no known next of kin or whose family are unable to arrange a funeral since the 19th century, as a result some 25 bodies are interred each week by low-paid jail inmates working on the island, which sits off the east shore of the city’s Bronx borough and is accessible only by boat.

The number of fatalities began increasing in March as Covid19 continues to spread rapidly in New York, making this highly populated US city the new  epicenter of the global pandemic.

 A spokesman for the Department of Correction, (which oversees the burials)  Jason Kersten  said there are about two dozen bodies a day, five days a week buried on the island.

Before the corpses are interred, the bodies are wrapped in body bags and placed inside pine caskets. The deceased’s name is scrawled in large letters on each casket, which helps should a body need to be disinterred later. They are buried in long narrow trenches excavated by digging machines.

They added two new trenches in case we need them,” Kersten said. To help with the surge, and amid an outbreak of the COVID-19 respiratory illness caused by the virus at the city’s main jail, contract labourers have been hired, Kersten concluded.