Bodies could start to stack up from the coronavirus. Coroners and funeral homes say they’re ready.
CLOSE New York City built a makeshift morgue for the expected influx of coronavirus deaths. USA TODAYDENVER – America’s long history of violent death – from car crashes and hurricanes to terror attacks and mass shootings – has left its coroners and funeral directors well-prepared for handling bodies that could stack up from the coronavirus outbreak, they say.Unlike other disasters that strike within hours or days, the coronavirus outbreak is unfolding more slowly, allowing coroners and funeral homes across the country to prepare for a large number of deaths. Many experts have been watching in horror at the stories of how bodies have been handled in Italy, which has seen more than 7,500 deaths from the outbreak, starting in early March with a handful a day, but rising rapidly to more than 750 a day by early this week.”We train for this kind of thing all the time,” said Gary Watts, 63, president of the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.Watts, who is also the elected coroner of Richland County, South Carolina, said while the coronavirus appears poised to affect all areas of the United States, different areas will have different death peaks, allowing experts to move from one hard-hit area to