I remember many articles about ice rinks being used as mortuaries, as covid deaths were increasing. One of the more notable stories can be found here: https://www.france24.com/en/20200324-spain-transforms-ice-rink-into-makeshift-mortuary-to-cope-with-coronavirus-deaths

However according to this statistic, overall deaths in spain in 2020 were not significantly more than expected.

I also can't find pictures of ice rinks with actual bodies, I only ever read these articles, when the ice rinks were prepared to be used, but not when they were actually used.

Did Spain really use an ice rink as mortuary, or was it only preparing to use it, but never actually needed to use it because the number of deaths wasn't as big as expected?

When people tell me, that covid is not a big deal, I point to stories like that, however it seems, that these stories don't make much sense under closer scrutiny.

  • Note that there is no conflict between "Everything is over capacity, people are dropping like flies" and "Overall deaths not more than expected". In Sweden we had a lot of elderly dying early on, but they were also the weakest and would have died anyway during the next months. Doesn't mean the system can manage everyone at once. – pipe Jan 17 at 23:11
  • Well that could be one explanation. I think I found another possible explanation in another article, apparently regular mortuaries were shut down because of lack of protective gear. So the sensationalist headline is to blame here. But I would be happy to hear other explanations. – user1721135 Jan 18 at 0:22
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    To clarify – are you skeptical about the claim that Spain used ice rinks as make-shift morgues, or are you skeptical about the claim that Spain had a notable number of excessive deaths in 2020? – Schmuddi Jan 18 at 5:03
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    @pipe re: "would have died anyway during the next months" that statement is not supported by evidence. – De Novo Jan 18 at 5:03
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    I don't understand your source for the overall mortality in Spain in 2020 (knoema website): if you click on "Explore data", it seems that they interpolated data from June 2019. Note also that the last update was March 26, 2020, when Spain was in the midlle of its 1st wave. – Taladris Jan 19 at 8:51

The ice rink is called Palacio de Hielo (“Palace of Ice”) and Spanish language newspaper El Mundo has multiple articles from April (article 1, article 2) which include photos of the inside with caskets lined up:

H section of caskets in ice rink

Alamy has another photo of the rink from higher up, which seems to have been taken after they stopped housing caskets there (though what looks to be green carpet is still covering the ice).

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    The 'carpet' is probably so that the staff don't have to wear ice skates. It might be very difficult even for a group of trained skaters to carry a coffin across ice. – Weather Vane Jan 18 at 12:42
  • @WeatherVane That’s definitely the purpose but I think it’s actually artificial grass and not (ugly) grass colored carpet. There’s a place near me that hosts (hosted?) games for three different sports (hockey, basketball, and lacrosse) plus concerts, all in the same arena. The ice is covered up when they don’t need it. (Yes, I think I’ve clearly overthought this part of the answer.) – Laurel Jan 18 at 17:10

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