In the part of Italy hit hardest by the coronavirus, the crematorium has started operating 24 hours a day. Coffins have filled up two hospital morgues, and then a cemetery morgue, and are now being lined up inside a cemetery church.
By death toll alone, the coronavirus has landed in the northern province of Bergamo with the force of a historic disaster.
All across Bergamo, people are being picked up in ambulances, rushed to the hospital and dying in sealed-off wards where even their closest relatives are not allowed.
Many funerals are taking place with only a priest present, while family members face restrictions, remain in quarantine or are too sick themselves.
“I think it’s worse than a war,” said Marta Testa, 43, who is in self-quarantine and whose father died Wednesday of the virus at age 85. “Dad is waiting to be buried. And we are here waiting to tell him goodbye.”