According to METRO UK another 474 people have died of Covid-19 in New York state as officials in the world coronavirus hotspot said they plan to start temporarily freezing victims bodies.
The deaths for the previous 24 hours were announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday after he reported 484 deaths the previous day and 478 deaths on the day before that.
Cuomo’s latest announcement came hours after the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said the city will freeze Covid-19 victims instead of burying them on Hart Island, the city’s mass grave which has long been used to bury unclaimed bodies.
Officials said the city will be assisted by the Air Force Mortuary Affairs to transfer bodies from five temporary morgues and 200 refrigerated trailers outside 60 hospitals to freezer trucks that will be parked in Brooklyn.
The decision to freeze the bodies is meant to reduce the pressure on hospitals and funeral homes, which are running out of space amid the still-increasing death toll in the city. Deaths in New York state topped 21,000 on Wednesday and at least 14,427 of those fatalities occurred in New York City.
By freezing the bodies, loved ones of those killed by the virus will reportedly be afforded more time to make funeral arrangements. However, if the bodies are not claimed, they will still be buried on Hart Island, officials said.
Although deaths have continued to steadily rise in New York, Cuomo has noted that decreased hospitalizations and ICU admissions suggest that the outbreak may have plateaued in the state.
Despite the hopeful news, the governor has continued to urge New Yorkers to social distance and follow health officials’ guidelines.
‘This is a profound moment in our history. Our actions shape our future. If we get reckless today, we’ll suffer the consequences tomorrow,’ He said Wednesday.