Councilman Mark Levine caused an uproar this morning by tweeting that temporary burials could "soon" begin in NYC parks in order to avoid scenes that played out in Italy, where "the military is forced to collect bodies from churches and even off the streets."
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.— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) April 6, 2020
It will be done in a dignified, orderly--and temporary--manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take. 9/
Later that day, Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the claim in a press conference without confirming or denying that the temporary internments could become a reality: "[The morgues] have the capacity," he said. "We may well be dealing with temporary burials so we can then deal with each family later, but I'm not going to details. When we have something to say about it, we will."
The city's medical examiner’s office has brought in 45 new refrigerated trailers to city hospitals to deal with the sharp rise in the number of bodies, according to The New York Times.
But, according to Aja Worthy-Davis, the spokeswoman for the medical examiner, OCME is "only conducting city burial at Hart Island at this time."
Time Out New York reached out to the New York City Parks Department for comment, and they pointed us to the following tweet from the mayor's press secretary:
We are NOT currently planning to use local parks as burial grounds. We are exploring using Hart Island for temporary burials, if the need grows. https://t.co/LfgGjULjh8— Freddi Goldstein (@FreddiGoldstein) April 6, 2020
Levine later clarified his words saying that parks would only be used if the death rate doesn't go down.
This tweet has gotten a lot of attention. So I want to clarify: the is a contingency NYC is preparing for BUT if the death rate drops enough it will not be necessary. https://t.co/6wLO8qWtML— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) April 6, 2020
And Governor Cuomo later addressed the rumors, saying he would not support the idea: