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HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/USA-MORTUARY
RTX7EO8L
April 21, 2020
There are 48 bodies in the basement of the funeral home in Harlem. Forty are in cardboard boxes, ready...
New York, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Dealing with the dead: the female undertakers of Harlem
There are 48 bodies in the basement of the funeral home in Harlem. Forty are in cardboard boxes, ready for cremation. The other eight are in the refrigerator, to be embalmed and buried. It will be weeks or months before they get either. As health officials began burying COVID-19 victims in a mass grave on Hart Island during New York's worst week of death, the four female undertakers at the International Funeral & Cremation Service started turning bodies away. This band of women morticians in heeled boots began to feel like they were failing. The way they see it, a person should get what they want in death, even if that was never possible in life. On the front lines of coronavirus pandemic, nurses and doctors are caring for the living. But there is another front line of those caring for the dead. They fear they can also get infected and die. Some of them have sent their own children to live with relatives. And because American cities like New York were never designed to dispose of so many dead, their call of duty will last much longer. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly SEARCH "CORONAVIRUS FUNERAL HOMES SLUM" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. Matching text: HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/USA-MORTUARY
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