Covid19 – Brazil graveyard workers dig 600 graves everyday
In almost three decades of working in Sao Paulo’s largest cemetery, the oldest gravediggers can’t remember performing more than 10 night burials. But since the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic swept across Brazil, that exception has become the rule.
The vertiginous rise in deaths in Sao Paulo in recent months has forced the mayor of the country’s richest and most populous city to adapt funeral planning to avoid being overwhelmed.
At 6 pm, the night shift clocks in. Two huge lamps powered by generators start up, illuminating the graves and filling the air with the smell of diesel.
The gravediggers estimate that in 12 months they have already used 26 lots, an area that in pre-pandemic times would yield more than two years of burials.
“There’s room to continue here,” says one of the men. “But at this rate, I don’t know how long that will last.”