New York City has long had a plan in place in the event of a pandemic that kills massive amounts of people, and it includes having inmates from Rikers Island prison dig mass graves for victims.
The death rate for the coronavirus has been estimated between 2% and 3.4%, but past pandemics such as the Spanish Flu in 1918 and the Asian Flu in 1957 have been more severe.
With that in mind, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2008 ordered the plan to be drafted, the Daily Mail reports.
The report by Charles S. Hirsch is titled "Pandemic Influenza Surge Plan For Managing In- and Out-of-Hospital Deaths" and assumes that up to 70% of deaths would occur in hospitals and assisted living facilities.
The plan calls for morticians, forensic photographers, and medical students to be used for collecting bodies, and they could remove between 50 and 5,000 cadavers per day.
If there were a surge in deaths, mobile refrigerated storage units stored throughout the city could hold 44 bodies each. Cremation would be used to speed up the process of disposing of the bodies.
But if the number of dead bodies became too many to handle, the plan would then employ the Rikers prisoners, who would dig mass graves for up to 51,000 bodies on nearby Hart Island, according to the report.
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