Councilman announces NYC will start temporarily burying virus victims in local parks. Is it true?

(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

A New York City Councilman is under fire for what many saw as an “irresponsible” tweet claiming coronavirus victims would be buried in local parks.

Councilman Mark Levine was slammed for spreading fear with a “typo” in a tweet stating that “temporary interment” will begin “soon” in New York as death tolls mount and overwhelm hospitals and morgues.

“Soon we’ll start ‘temporary interment’. This likely will be done by using a NYC park for burials (yes you read that right). Trenches will be dug for 10 caskets in a line,” the Democrat tweeted Monday.

“It will be done in a dignified, orderly–and temporary–manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take,” he wrote, and went on in a following tweet to say, “The goal is to avoid scenes like those in Italy, where the military was forced to collect bodies from churches and even off the streets.”

But Levine soon tweeted another message to clarify, saying it “is a contingency NYC is preparing for BUT if the death rate drops enough it will not be necessary.”

He reiterated that it was a “typo.”

During a coronavirus press briefing at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about the burials.

“We may well be dealing with temporary burials, so we can deal with each family later,” he said. We will have the capacity for temporary burials – that’s all I’m going to say.”

“I’m not going into details,” de Blasio added. “I don’t think it’s a great thing to be talking about.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also reportedly knew nothing of the burial plans.

Levine explained that the city’s healthcare system “is being pushed to the limit” and that hospital morgues are filled up and refrigerated tractor-trailers have been sent out.

“These are now mostly full too. Some hospitals have had to add a 2nd or even 3rd trailer,” Levine said, adding that grieving families cannot easily find funeral homes to accommodate them and cemeteries are turning them away.

More than 3,000 people have died in New York City as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but Levine warned they could be “undercounting,” adding that the freezers at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manhattan and Brooklyn “will soon be full.”

There were reportedly no plans for temporary burials, according to a spokeswoman for the city’s Medical Examiner’s office.

“We have no plans right now to bury anyone in city parks,” Aja Worthy-Davis, told The New York Post, addding that the freezers at the facilities have “adequate space.”

Levine’s panic-inducing tweets came as de Blasio was raising alarms about the city running out of ventilators by Tuesday or Wednesday, demanding federal and state governments supply an additional 1,500.

Twitter users slammed Levine’s initial tweet and his additional clarification.

 

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
Frieda Powers

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