Cardboard coffins, the briefest goodbye: the cold drill of ...

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Cardboard coffins, the briefest goodbye: the cold drill of corona funerals

Funeral homes and crematoria battle a huge backlog as New York’s pandemic death toll hits 16,000

Josie Ensor

The flag at the entrance to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is flying at half-mast. It is not the first time in its 180-year history that the Stars and Stripes has been lowered, but it has never been for this long.

“It has been seven weeks and we don’t know when it will feel right to raise it again,” said Eric Barna, the cemetery’s vice-president of operations. “I just don’t see it happening in the near future.”

As the largest of four crematoria serving New York City – the centre of the coronavirus outbreak in America – few places have been hit harder than Green-Wood. The city has suffered more than 16,400 deaths in two months, tolls not recorded since the last deadly pandemic of 1918. The US as a whole is fast approaching the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths, the most of any country...

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