TIJUANA — Dressed in white protective suits, workers in Tijuana last week buried dozens of bodies — causalities of the coronavirus — as bulldozers cleared land for more graves.
Municipal Cemetery No. 13 stretches across a rocky hillside in the Valle Redondo, about four miles south of the border in far eastern Tijuana. Most of the dead were poor or working class, their graves marked by simple white crosses.
“The majority of the [COVID-19] bodies come wrapped in plastic bags and the coffins too are contained in plastic,” said one of the gravediggers.
After each burial, he and the other workers take turns spraying themselves down with disinfectant.
Because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, the city government limits how many family members are allowed to attend a funeral and requires them to stand 10 feet back from the grave.
There are 12 other municipal cemeteries in Tijuana, all of which are full, according to Jesús Salvador García, Tijuana’s director of cemeteries.
“I can’t tell you the total number buried in the whole city because there are also private cemeteries and the option of cremation, which is the decision of the family,” he said.
At least 35 victims of COVID-19 have been buried at Municipal Cemetery No. 13.
Southern California had its first big heat wave over the weekend, but L.A. County beaches are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Beaches in nearby counties were open, however. Here are a few scenes from the weekend.
Wendy Fry is a member of the Watchdog & Accountability team at The San Diego Union-Tribune. She worked at the newspaper from 2009 to 2012, and worked at NBC San Diego from 2013 to 2018 before returning to the paper. Wendy won SPJ’s Sol Price Award for Responsible Journalism in 2012 for her coverage of corruption at the Sweetwater schools, and she won the Grand Golden Watchdog Award from the San Diego County Taxpayers Association in 2017.