Mexico City crematoriums collapse with Covid-19 fatalities

Mexico City is the place with the highest number of infections (8,705) and deaths (729) registered by the COVID-19. And in addition to hospitals, funeral services are the ones that suffer the most from the rapid increase in those numbers.

Mexico City crematoriums crack under pressure as COVID-19 fatalities spike. Archive photo
Mexico City crematoriums crack under pressure as COVID-19 fatalities spike. Archive photo

And in addition to hospitals, funeral services are the ones most affected by the rapid increase in these figures. The managers of several funeral homes in the capital warned that the city's crematory ovens are "saturated" with the dead from the new coronavirus. They added that, in order to be cremated, a body can wait for more than 24 hours, or they are also beginning to opt to send them to the State of Mexico.

"Everything is saturated, there are no schedules for cremation. In general, all funeral homes have a delay of one, two or even three days, because the schedules are already saturated," Javier Rodriguez of Funerales Juarez, next to the Juarez Hospital in Mexico, told Milenio.

Specifically, one of the crematoria with the highest demand is located in Palo Alto, Cuajimalpa. The two ovens there operate 24 hours a day and these days, in the middle of Phase 3 of COVID-19 in the country, they perform up to 40 services daily.

The coordinator of Pantheons in Cuajimalpa, Raúl Peñaloza, accepted that Palo Alto is operating at its maximum capacity: "We are saturated, why? because they (courts and funeral homes) are not scheduled, they get their cremation order and immediately come here.

Furthermore, in addition to the fact that the funeral homes maintain that service is slow, the ovens require maintenance and replacement. Milenio reports having visited Palo Alto and observed the operation, as well as the black smoke coming out of the chimneys, which generates discomfort and neighborhood complaints, so they installed filters.

In this regard, the workers indicated that the bodies arrive at them in black bags, and when they put them in, they throw black smoke for 10 minutes, but after that, the service is normalized, despite the fact that they work at forced marches.

Precisely, the newspaper Reforma had already reported that funeral homes in the east of the Valley of Mexico alerted that they already had their services saturated because of people who had died from COVID-19 or were suspected of having carried the disease.

In municipalities such as Los Reyes, La Paz, Chicoloapan, and Chalco, there are about 30 funeral homes, but only three have active cremation services.

David Licona, a representative of the Nezahualcóyotl funeral home association, told the media that only one of the crematoria is public and is located in the municipal pantheon. The other pair are private, but do not serve all funeral homes.

Licona also explained that eight out of every 10 services for which they are required refer to patients with death from COVID-19. This results in waiting times of up to two or three days after death; in other words, hospitals may keep the bodies for more than 48 hours.

By Mexicanist