The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has requested 100,000 body bags from the Defense Department's Defense Logistics Agency.
This comes after the White House coronavirus task force announced that it estimates between 100,000 and 240,000 coronavirus-related deaths within the United States — even with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines.
"The Department of Defense and the Defense Logistics Agency have a longstanding arrangement with FEMA to procure key commodities from DLA's industrial partners during crisis response operations," an official statement from the DoD read. "DLA is currently responding to FEMA's prudent planning efforts for 100,000 pouches to address mortuary contingencies on behalf of state health agencies."
According to Bloomberg News, where the story was first reported, the DoD has 50,000 of the requested "Human Remains Pouches" and is working on procuring the other portion of the request.
News of this request comes days after FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services were asked to explain why they had not yet directed the Pentagon on where to send its shipment of 2,000 ventilators.
"There was discussion with HHS on where to send them. And then they said hey wait, we're trying to take a look at the demand that's required, and so we were asked to just wait while there was just some sorting through on that. And I won't speak on behalf of them, but we were in a position to provide 2,000," Lt. General Giovanni Tuck, director for logistics, Joint Staff, told CNN.
As of Thursday morning, there were 217,263 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States with 5,151 deaths. Early worst-case scenario estimates predicted around 200,000 to 1.7 million deaths and between 160 million and 214 million infections in the United States.