- Title: 'It's a sad topic' - NYC mayor on city's mass graves
- Date: 10th April 2020
- Summary: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (APRIL 9, 2020) (REUTERS) (MUTE) VARIOUS OF DRONE FOOTAGE OF CASKETS BEING BURIED ON HART ISLAND IN THE BRONX
- Keywords: COVID-19 Hart Island coronavirus potter's field
- Reuters ID: LVA003C8WSR47
- Location: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- City: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:01:53
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: While New York remains at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, more people are being buried in mass graves in New York City.
"It's a sad topic. Imagine anyone who passes away and there's no one there to claim the body," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during his daily news briefing on Friday (April 10).
The city 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.
Typically, 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. That number began increasing in March as the new coronavirus spread rapidly.
"What we have seen is an increase in the number of people passing away overall," said the mayor. "But it's being made deeper by the fact that more people are passing away because this disease."
There are about two dozen bodies a day, five days a week buried on the island, said Jason Kersten, a spokesman for the Department of Correction, which oversees the burials.
Before burial, the dead 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.
(Production: Angela Moore, Lucas Jackson)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Embargoed:24th April 2020 20:58
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None