Mayor de Blasio once again refused to detail the city’s capacity to handle the bodies of coronavirus victims – and admitted officials are also likely undercounting the number of people who have died during the pandemic.
The mayor said Tuesday he assumes most people in New York City who have died at home in recent weeks without being tested or treated for COVID-19 likely had the deadly disease.
“I am assuming the vast majority of those deaths are coronavirus related,” de Blasio said at a briefing. “It’s understandable in a crisis that being able to make the confirmation is harder to do with all the resources stretched so thin…The first use of all of everything we’ve got – our professionals, our health care workers, our resources – the first thing we are focused on is saving the next life.”
The city reported 3,202 people have died of COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning, a 29.37% jump from the 2,475 deaths logged just 24 hours before, according to the city Health Department.
The medical examiner’s office has enough space in borough-based morgues for about 800 to 900 bodies during normal times.
Officials said this capacity has expanded significantly since the pandemic began – with 80 mobile refrigerated trucks and a temporary morgue tent. Hospitals also have morgues.
But the medical examiner’s office won’t say how much space the city currently has for the bodies of coronavirus victims. De Blasio has also repeatedly refused to discuss how the city will handle a surge in bodies as the death toll rapidly climbs in the next weeks.