One of New York City's top health officials warned Monday that the city may need to prepare for a "gruesome reality" as COVID-19 deaths mount: the burial of bodies in a city park, with "trenches dug for 10 caskets in a line." "It will be done in a dignified, orderly—and temporary—manner," tweeted Councilman Mark Levine, chair of the City Council health committee. He added that the goal was to avoid scenes like those in Italy, where the military was forced to collect bodies from churches and even off the streets." Levine didn't say which park authorities were considering for the grim purpose, but he said it would be one "out of the way of the public," the New York Times reports.
Levine warned that hospital morgues are full and a fleet of 80 refrigerated trailers sent to hospitals around the city, each with the capacity for 100 bodies, is now also mostly full. He later said that burying bodies in a park is a contingency the city is preparing for, but it may not be necessary if the death rate drops. Mayor Bill de Blasio said temporary burials are something the city "may be dealing with," but he declined to discuss details, NBC New York reports. "We have the capacity but it's going to be very tough. I don't want to go into detail because I don't think it's a great thing to be talking about publicly," he said. Hart Island, site of a public cemetery that holds more than 1 million bodies, has been floated as a potential location, reports CNBC. (New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says coronavirus deaths in the state may be "plateauing.")