In the cemeteries, the remains that for years were in graves began to be exhumed, to make room for the new corpses left by the pandemic. In the most populous city in Brazil and the one that registers the highest number of deaths from coronavirus, the number of funeral cars also increased and several cemeteries extended their hours to bury bodies even at night.
The rebound in deaths from coronavirus is forcing cemeteries in the Brazilian city of São Paulo to take other measures to bury all the dead. Funeral homes are emptying old graves and relocating those remains so they can locate the recently deceased.
The Municipal Funeral Service explained in a statement known to Reuters that relocation of remains is standard in cemetery operations. But this is not the only measure that funeral homes have had to take.
The institution allowed burials at night and, to do this, extended the hours in four of the 22 municipal cemeteries since last week. Thus, the cemeteries of Vila Formosa, São Luiz, Vila Nova Cachoeirinha and São Pedro now work until 22:00, instead of closing at 18:00 as usual.
In addition, since February, the authorities have brought towers of lights to cemeteries so that they could work at night and even expanded the fleet of hearse and hired more people.
São Paulo, the city with the most deaths from Covid-19 in all of Brazil
All these measures come at a time when Covid-19 is killing more than ever in the city of São Paulo, the most populated city in Brazil and also the one hardest hit by the pandemic. The municipality has the highest number of deaths in the country, with more than 22,000 deaths so far from the 325,000 pandemic that Brazil accumulates, according to the Ministry of Health.
And this week has been particularly hard, as the South American nation registered its own record of daily deaths for two consecutive days, accounting for more than 3,800 deaths. On both occasions, the city of São Paulo was where the most people died from the virus.
This affects the funeral service of the city to the point that the capacity that was planned has already been exceeded. In December, the Municipal Funeral Service adopted contingency measures and assured that with this reinforcement of its work it would be able to bury up to 400 people in a single day.
Although that number seemed unthinkable at the time, this week it was exceeded. On March 30, they buried 420 corpses and throughout the week, burials have been around the same number, with more than 355 per day, according to the institution’s data.
That exceeds not only the expected capacity but also the number of deaths that occurred in the first Covid-19 outbreak in Brazil. In July 2020, when there was the highest spike in deaths until this new wave, more than 300 people were never buried in São Paulo per day.
In addition, the burials that have been carried out this week far exceed the average of 240 daily burials in summer and 300 in winter calculated by the Municipal Funeral Service.
And as the deaths increase in São Paulo, cemetery workers continue to work day and night in their white coats and masks to bury all the deceased left by the pandemic, and now also to remove the decomposed remains of the old graves.