Italian Mayor: We Can’t Cremate Bodies Fast Enough to Keep Up with Coronavirus Deaths

Undertakers wearing a face mask and overalls unload a coffin out of a hearse on March 16, 2020 at the Monumental cemetery of Bergamo, Lombardy, as burials of people who died of the new coronavirus are being conducted at the rythm of one every half hour. (Photo by Piero Cruciatti …

An Italian mayor says that his city’s crematory is now “unable to dispose of all the work it has to do,” as there have been so many bodies of those who have died due to the coronavirus.

Giorgio Gori — the mayor of Bergamo, Italy — says that it is no longer only the hospitals that are in a state of emergency but also the crematorium responsible for managing the bodies, according to a report by Il Giornale.

“The crematory is no longer enough,” said Gori. “The oven in the city of Bergamo is unable to dispose of all the work it has to do.”

Bergamo is an Italian city just northeast of Milan, located in the nation’s Lombardy region, which has been at the center of Italy’s — and Europe’s — coronavirus crisis.

“The city is the epicenter of this emergency,” said Gori. “The number of infected people continues to grow — those taken to hospital, put into intensive care. Unfortunately, the number of deaths have increased, about 50 per day, 300 in the last week.”

The mayor added that bodies are now being sent to other crematoriums, as the city’s facility is unable to handle the numbers of Wuhan virus victims that it receives.

“We will not be able to meet all the needs,” said Gori. “Many bodies have been sent to other places for cremation. The oven in the city of Bergamo is unable to dispose of all the work it has to do.”

“This is not meant to give you unpleasant details, but to make you understand the fatigue and suffering,” he added. “They are friends who die, acquaintances, colleagues.”

The outbreak of the Chinese virus in Italy — which Italian doctors have described as a “war situation” — has resulted in chaos and the overcrowding of hospitals while the Italian government scrambles to come up with enough ventilators and ICU beds for coronavirus patients.

Last week, while addressing the coronavirus crisis in Italian hospitals, Gori said that doctors are having to choose which patients to save, stating, “Patients who cannot be treated are left to die.”

One anesthetist working at a hospital in Bergamo echoed the mayor’s remarks, stating, “If someone between 80 and 95 has serious breathing difficulties, you probably don’t proceed.”

As of Monday, Italy’s coronavirus death toll has reached a startling 2,158, with 349 more people dead within the last 24 hours alone — and 202 of those deaths having been from Italy’s northern Lombardy region, according to La Repubblica.

As for Bergamo’s new dilemma involving crematories, the commissioner for cemetery services, Giacomo Angeloni, also shared his remarks, reports Il Giornale.

“Since last weekend there has been a crescendo of deaths,” said Angeloni, “numbers never seen for the activity of the Municipality of Bergamo.”

“At the cemetery in Bergamo there is a burial every half hour,” he added.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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