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Bracing for catastrophe as coronavirus infections in the U.S. continue to soar, the Defense Department has ordered 100,000 “military-style body bags for potential civilian use”.
According to Bloomberg, the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has requested the 100,000 body bags through the Defense Department.
Initially, some of those will come from a Pentagon stockpile of 50,000 nylon bags originally intended for use in combat zones. FEMA hasn’t given the Defense Logistics Agency, which manages stockpiles and supply chains for the U.S. military and some federal agencies, a specific time when it wants the body bags yet, but Bloomberg reported FEMA wants them as soon as possible and the Pentagon is finalizing production contracts.
A FEMA spokesperson told Bloomberg that its “prudent planning” includes “mortuary contingencies.”
The US Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Major General Jeff Taliaferro told the news agency that FEMA has also requested that the military provide a “mortuary affairs support team for New York.”
COVID-19 has spread to all 50 states, DC, and four U.S. territories. According to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine tracker, there are over 209,000 confirmed cases across the U.S. with over 4,750 deaths and counting.