NYC dead stay in freezer trucks set up during spring COVID-1

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A truck leaves a temporary morgue in Brooklyn of New York, the United States, on May 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

A truck leaves a temporary morgue in Brooklyn of New York, the United States, on May 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

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The bodies of hundreds of people who died in New York City during the COVID-19 surge in the spring are still in storage in freezer trucks on the Brooklyn waterfront, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Many of the bodies are of people whose families cannot be located or cannot afford a proper burial, the city's Office of Chief Medical Examiner was quoted as saying. About 650 bodies are being stored in the trucks at a disaster morgue that was set up in April on 39th Street Pier in Sunset Park.

Officials at the chief medical examiner's office said they are having trouble tracking down relatives of about 230 deceased people.

Before the pandemic, most, if not all, of the deceased would have been buried within a few weeks in a grave site for the indigent on Hart Island, which is located in Long Island Sound near the Bronx.

New York City increased its burial assistance to 1,700 U.S. dollars from 900 dollars in May. That is still short of the average 9,000-dollar cost of a traditional service with burial in New York, the New York State Funeral Directors Association was quoted as saying.

As of Sunday evening, coronavirus deaths have added up to 24,206 and confirmed cases to 294,765 in New York City, according to The City, a project that tracks the spread of confirmed COVID-19 infections and fatalities in U.S city. The project uses information provided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the governor's office, The COVID Tracking Project and the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.