NEW YORK — Tom Cheeseman’s phone rang at 3 a.m. Friday, soon after returning home from one of the worst days he’s seen in 30 years as a Brooklyn funeral director. He just chauffeured the deceased for 12 hours — some coronavirus victims, some not — between houses, hospitals and funeral homes. But the call came: Another death. Another pick up. And so out he went, determined to help another person reach their final resting place with as much dignity as the situation would allow. “We took a sworn oath to protect the dead, this is what we do,” he said. “We’re the last responders. Our job is just as important as the first responders.” He pulled into Daniel J. Schaefer funeral home around 8:20 a.m. on about three hours of sleep. His first act, he thought, would be to resolve unfinished business from the day before. Twice on Thursday, he had been called to hospitals, only to be told by staff that the remains he sought couldn’t be found in the refrigerated trailers serving as makeshift morgues — that’s in addition to the 10 bodies he did pick up. The coronavirus pandemic has crunched New York City’s medical system,


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