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Coronavirus US: Dead bodies loaded into trucks as death toll explodes

Pictures of dead bodies being loaded onto trucks by forklifts outside a hospital in New York City have emerged as the state’s death rate explodes.

On Tuesday, the number of reported deaths as a result of the coronavirus pandemic shot up within 24 hours by 253 to just over 1200, a number Governor Andrew Cuomo called “staggering”.

“That’s a lot of loss, that’s a lot of pain, that’s a lot of tears, USA Latest News that’s a lot of grief that people all across this state are feeling,” the governor said at a briefing in Manhattan.

State officials expect the number of deaths to continue to rise as the outbreak – which has infected nearly one million people globally – reaches its projected peak in the coming weeks.

More than 66,000 cases of the potentially deadly virus have been recorded in the state of New York alone.

“Whatever the number is, it’s going to be staggering,” Mr Cuomo said.



“We’ve lost over 1000 New Yorkers. To me, we’re beyond staggering already.”

Due to the surge in virus deaths, hospitals are using refrigerator trucks as makeshift morgues. According to a report on Monday from the NY Post, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was sending 85 of the trucks to New York City to store the dead.

“We are sending some refrigeration trucks to New York to help with some of the problems on a temporary basis,” FEMA regional director Thomas Von Essen said at a Manhattan press briefing earlier this week.

Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital was the first to get the trucks to house bodies last week.

The scenes even rattled US President Donald Trump, who had earlier declared the virus pandemic in America – now the worst epicentre in the world – would be over by Easter.

“I’ve been watching that for the last week on television,” the President said earlier this week, referring to scenes of the bodies being moved onto the trucks by forklift.

“Body bags all over, in hallways. I’ve been watching them bring in trailer trucks – freezer trucks, they’re freezer trucks, because they can’t handle the bodies, there are so many of them.

“This is essentially in my community, in Queens, Queens, New York. I’ve seen things that I’ve never seen before.”

The head of New York’s funeral directors association fears the city could soon see dead bodies piling up due to the surge in deaths, Press Release Distribution Service combined with limits on cemetery shifts.

New York State Funeral Directors Association director Mike Lanotte told the NY Post religious cemeteries have put protocols in place to protect staff working in cemeteries that have led to less manpower.

“They’re not able to bury as many people in a day as they normally would and that’s a concern because if there’s a large number of cemeteries that start to do this, we’re going to start to have – for lack of a better word – a bottleneck,” Mr Lanotte, who represents 1700 funeral homes statewide, said.

He said the city’s morgues are “at the brink if not in a state of excess capacity”.

– With AP

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