The deadly effects of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) on the United States are looking a lot more like the epicenter of the pandemic: China.
As The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, the volume of coronavirus deaths has gotten so high that regulators in New York City have authorized crematoriums to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Before the new authorization, some crematorium operators were already working 16-hour days, the paper said, in order to process double and sometimes triple the number of bodies they normally do.
In fact, a number of operators told the WSJ they are now booked a week in advance.
The workload has become so intense that one crematorium operator had a macabre request for the public.
“It would be good if everyone, for the public good, would explain to families not to go for a wooden casket,” Richard Moylan, president of Green-Wood Cemetery, one of four crematorium operators in the Big Apple said.
He said that cloth-covered caskets that are built using light wood or fiberboard burn faster than wooden caskets, thus making it easier for them to process more bodies on a daily basis.
“It would be better if everybody just used a simple cardboard box,” he said, the WSJ reported.
The paper adds:
Funeral directors and cemeteries around New York City are struggling to service the spiraling number of deaths in the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus crisis. More than 1,560 people have died so far in the city after being infected by the disease.
The deaths are straining services that cater to grieving families and the dead. Federal and local agencies have dispatched about 130 refrigerated trucks to serve as temporary morgues for hospitals around the state.
The four crematoriums in New York City serve a population of about 8 million people. Before the regulators lifted some rules to allow them to operate 24/7, they were only open for about 10 hours a day.
Currently, All Souls Crematory, which is located at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Queens, schedules 24 cremations per day now — or triple the usual number of eight or so just a few weeks back.
At the same time, new restrictions have been put into place because of the pandemic. For example, families have to limit attendance or are no longer able to attend at all on-site. And state regulations issued in response to the outbreak restrict the size of gatherings in funeral homes to a small group of immediate family only.
This is the same phenomenon that crematoriums in China faced.
Natural News reported that not only were crematoriums in China operating beyond capacity, but operators were so short-handed they were looking for “brave” people to work for them for the equivalent of $143 an hour.
“As of Feb. 14, the Chinese central government announced that more than one thousand patients have died in Wuhan in the past 45 days,” added The Epoch Times, noting that staff at local crematoriums said “their intake has skyrocketed in recent weeks, forcing them to work ’round the clock in order to process the bodies daily.
“One crematorium official said the facility recently peaked at processing 127 bodies in one day,” the news site reported.
New York crematoriums are also experiencing a staffing problem, according to the WSJ. But even if they did have satisfactory staffing levels, they still couldn’t process any more bodies than they are already handling.
That’s because crematorium chambers, which heat to between, 1,400 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, need periods of cool-down and ‘rest.’
“We’re straining them now by running them so long,” Moyland said.
And at this point, there simply is no respite in sight for the Big Apple, let alone the country as a whole.