Coronavirus in New York City: Makeshift disaster morgue appears in Brooklyn

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A fleet of refrigerated trucks has turned a Brooklyn pier into a makeshift disaster morgue as New York City officials try to find space for a growing number of bodies during the coronavirus outbreak.

The opening of the morgue comes days after dozens of bodies were found stuffed inside unrefrigerated U-Haul trucks outside a funeral home in another part of the borough.

“We’re trying to support the funeral director community so they don’t have to rush and claim bodies; and then they’re struggling with the backlog to get them buried or the remains cremated,” said Dina Maniotis, the chief of staff at the city medical examiner’s office, who was quoted in Gothamist earlier this week.

“There is no need for them to worry or for families to worry that the remains will go to a city cemetery unless they specially ask for that option.”

The Statue of Liberty rises in the distance above refrigerated trucks intended for storing corpses that are staged in a lot at the 39th Street pier in Brooklyn. (AP)


It is not clear how many bodies are inside the makeshift morgue’s trucks. They will remain open between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. for funeral directors to claim.

Michael Lanotte, executive director of the New York State Funeral Directors Association, told Gothamist that will “help funeral directors by providing them with evening hours for transfers since they spend the vast majority of the daytime hours conducting funerals, making arrangements and answering calls from families seeking their services.”


In early April, a drone captured aerial images of workers digging trenches to bury bodies in New York City’s Hart Island.

As of Friday, New York state has suffered 26,079 coronavirus deaths – the most of any state in the U.S., statistics show.

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