NEW YORK :
The city of New York delivered a freezer truck to a funeral home on Wednesday after it was found to be storing dead bodies in unrefrigerated U-Haul vehicles, a Reuters eyewitness said.
The eyewitness saw bodies in a U-Haul van and said two vans and a truck were parked outside the funeral home.
ABC News reported about 100 bodies were stored in the vehicles after the owner of the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Services funeral home said the freezer that normally stores bodies stopped working.ABC did not identify the owner and no one at the funeral home was immediately available to comment. It was not clear how long the bodies had been stored in the U-Hauls or whether any were COVID-19 victims.
The bodies were found after neighbors reported an odor coming from the trucks, New York media reported.
The New York Police Department declined to comment. The Department of Health could not immediately be reached for comment.
U.S. deaths from the novel coronavirus topped 60,000 on Wednesday and the outbreak will soon be deadlier than any flu season since 1967, according to a Reuters tally.America's worst flu season in recent years was in 2017-2018 when more than 61,000 people died, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventihere
The only deadlier flu seasons were in 1967 when about 100,000 Americans died, 1957 when 116,000 died and the Spanish flu of 1918 when 675,000 died, according to the CDC.
The United States has the world’s highest coronavirus death toll and a daily average of 2,000 people died in April of the highly contagious respiratory illness COVID-19, according to a Reuters tally. The first U.S. death was recorded on Feb. 29 but recent testing in California indicates the first death might have been on Feb. 6, with the virus circulating weeks earlier than previously thought.
On Tuesday, COVID-19 deaths in the United States eclipsed in a few months the 58,220 Americans killed during 16 years of U.S. military involvement during the Vietnam War. Cases topped 1 million.
New York City has been at the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic and the city’s funeral homes have been overwhelmed. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 18,000 people have died of COVID-19 in America’s biggest city, according to a Reuters tally.
Funeral homes say they are facing weeks-long backlogs to bury or cremate the dead.