Jul 05, 2020
More than 1,300 NYC COVID-19 victims awaiting burial in freezers
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A hulking city-owned warehouse behind Brooklyn’s Costco has become a sad weigh station for the remains of more than 1,300 deceased, including many victims of New York’s coronavirus outbreak.
A short distance from where Costco shoppers load their carts with bulk purchases near 39th Street in Sunset Park, hearses roll down the street to retrieve frozen bodies from a storage facility that funeral directors call the “the pier” for its waterfront location.
The city’s specially designed “disaster morgue,” created during the COVID-19 crisis, housed 1,344 remains as of Tuesday, according to a Medical Examiner’s report obtained by The Post.
The tally is down from as many as 2,000 bodies stored at the facility at the peak of the pandemic, one funeral director said.
City officials refused to provide an accounting to The Post of how many bodies were being kept in “long-term storage.”
The bodies remain in limbo while families decide how they want their loved ones buried or come up with the money to pay for funerals. The city said there is no time limit on when they must be removed.
The city said the construction, operations and maintenance costs for the facility were $20 million and it would seek reimbursement from FEMA.
The city devised the unprecedented plan to freeze bodies in April as space ran short at its other morgues, hospitals and funeral homes. Bodies were put in packed refrigerated trucks.
City Councilman Mark Levine raised the possibility in an April tweet of temporarily burying the dead in city parks, something he later said was only a contingency plan.
The de Blasio administration rejected that idea, suggesting Hart Island — the city’s potter’s field — as a temporary interment spot. But photos of mass graves being dug on the island raised an outcry.
The Medical Examiner’s office said the option to freeze the deceased was a way to avoid Hart Island burials, though the island’s graves took in 894 bodies from March 9 to June 26. Some 1,100 were buried on the island in all of last year.
A total of 23,159 New York City residents have perished from the virus, according to the city Department of Health which includes probable COVID-19 cases in its tally.
The disaster morgue, in a complex of several warehouse buildings, is off-limits to the public and well guarded.
Funeral directors must pass several checkpoints to get in, said Doris Amen, director of Jurek Funeral Home in Park Slope. Hearses or service vans approach on lanes marked by traffic cones, passing “row after row after row” of long white refrigerator or freezer units, she said.
They enter a garage by the warehouse, which has a tent inside, and wait behind other funeral directors on line to pick up bodies.
Medical Examiner staff bring out the bodies, wrapped in heavy vinyl bags, on rolling tables. After tags are checked to verify identities of the deceased, they are lifted onto stretchers and loaded into the hearses or vans. More traffic cones mark the exit lanes.
The facility has become invaluable because burial sites are backed up, Amen said. “Cemeteries are giving us two- to three-week wait times.”
Funeral directors generally praised the ME’s office for the set up and how it has handled the crisis.
But preparations for bodies taken from the facility have presented challenges because freezing changes how remains look when thawed.
“You can’t embalm something frozen. You have to defrost it,” said Anthony Cassieri, who runs Brooklyn Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Brownsville.
“The freezer is great for long-term storage, but not when someone wants to have a visitation or an open-casket viewing. It creates a problem.”
News Source: newsbrig.com
Sushant Singh Rajput Funeral: Rhea Chakrabortys Lawyer Satish Manshinde Claims Actress Name Was Struck Off From List Of Attendees And She Was Not Allowed
With each passing day, actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case seems to be getting a new twist. While preliminary reports and questioning ruled out foul play and it was established that Sushant had indeed died by suicide, an FIR filed by the late actor’s father KK Singh in Patna, has heated things up. KK Singh filed an FIR in Patna against Rhea Chakraborty and her family for abetment of suicide, theft, fraud, cheating and wrongful confinement. Ankita Lokhande On Not Attending Sushant Singh Rajput’s Last Rites: ‘I Didn’t Go To His Funeral Because I Could Not See Him That Way’.
And while Rhea Chakraborty continues to be in the midst of the storm with new allegations and newer counter-allegations coming to fore with each passing day, Rhea’s lawyer Satish Manshinde has made another shocking revelation. RIP Sushant Singh Rajput: The Late Actor’s Family Immerses His Ashes In River Ganga (View Pics).
Back on June 15, at the time of Sushant’s last rites, Rhea’s absence gave rise to gossip and there was speculation that Rhea was asked to stay away from the funeral. A report in Times of India quoted Rhea’s lawyer as saying, “Rhea Chakraborty has always been living in Mumbai. She was in Mumbai on 14th June 2020. She was not allowed to attend the Funeral of Sushant Singh (Rajput) as her name was struck off from the list of 20.” Sushant Singh Rajput Funeral: Kriti Sanon, Shraddha Kapoor Attend the Ceremony to Pay their Condolences (View Pics).
The lawyer also went on to reveal that Rhea, at every given time, has co-operated with the investigations and Mumbai Police. “She was summoned by Mumbai Police on 18th of June 2020 at Bandra Police Station. Her statement was recorded there. Subsequently, she was summoned to appear on 17th July 2020 at Santacruz Police station. She appeared and recorded her supplementary statement.” the lawyer reportedly concluded.
(The above story first appeared on News Brig on Aug 04, 2020 01:23 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website newsbrig.com).