Drone Footage Shows Mass Burials Underway in New York


New York City has commenced mass burials of numerous deceased virus patients amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Drone footage released Friday shows hazmat-clad laborers have begun filling mass grave sites with dozens of wooden caskets on a small island of the coast of the Bronx in the Long Island Sound, as New York continues to battle the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

Over the years since the city purchased the roughly one-mile strip of land in 1868, Hart Island — long inaccessible to the public — has gradually become the final resting place of more than 1 million deceased residents with no known next-of-kin, The New York Times reported.

According to the BBC, however, the island, accustomed to the weekly burial of roughly 25 bodies, saw the interment of so many as 40 dead on Thursday alone.

In the video below, bodies are seen being buried in a single trench, with caskets stacked to preserve space:

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Experiencing an estimated weekly interment surge of nearly 500 percent as a result of the ongoing pandemic, Hart Island has reportedly expanded burial operations from one to five days per week.

Plots on the island were first set aside for both temporary and mass interment in case of such a need back in 2008, with the city’s Pandemic Influenza Surge Plan For Managing In- and Out-of-Hospital Deaths.

“As of 2007, the [NYC Department of Correction] reported that Hart Island has two prepared sites able to accommodate 19,200 decedents and an additional undeveloped site to support future interments,” the document reads.

Burials on Hart Island are normally carried out by paid prison labor from the city’s famed house of incarceration, Rikers Island, but have since been taken over by private contractors, the BBC reported.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke out in a series of tweets Friday, assuring New Yorkers that bodies buried on Hart Island will be treated with respect.

“The pictures of our fellow New Yorkers being buried on Hart Island are devastating for all of us,” de Blasio said.

“I want to make sure everyone knows what they’re seeing and what is actually happening on Hart Island. Remember, these are human beings. These are neighbors we’ve lost.

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“There will be no mass burials on Hart Island. Everything will be individual and every body will be treated with dignity,” the mayor continued.

“We do not anticipate temporary burials on Hart Island except for the unclaimed. Whenever we lose someone and there is a family member or a friend, here in New York or around the world, who wants to make burial arrangements, we hold remains until they are ready. Days, weeks, months — it doesn’t matter.”

“COVID-19 has not changed that,” he added.

De Blasio also argued against sensationalizing the mass burials.

“For decades, our city has buried people on Hart Island when there is no one else to make burial arrangements,” de Blasio said. “It’s a tragic reality.”

“The heartbreaking numbers of deaths we’re seeing means we are sadly losing more people without family or friends to bury them privately,” the mayor said.

“We shouldn’t sensationalize the suffering and loss of our neighbors. We should pray for them and keep them in our hearts.”

According to Johns Hopkins University data, New York state currently accounts for more than a quarter of the United States’ 486,490 confirmed coronavirus cases, as of Friday afternoon.

New York City itself accounts for 5,820 of the state’s more than 7,000 virus-related deaths.

The daily death toll announced Friday in New York state was a record high amid the perceived virus peak, the BBC reported, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed hope Thursday over decreased hospitalization rates.

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.