(USA Features) The Defense Department is moving to supply civilian authorities with some 100,000 body bags in preparation for more deaths related to coronavirus, officials said.
Pentagon officials said Thursday the department is “currently responding” to a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, for the body bags.
“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,” a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement Thursday morning.
“DLA is currently responding to FEMA’s prudent planning efforts for 100,000 pouches to address mortuary contingencies on behalf of state health agencies,” the statement continued.
Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the U.S. coronavirus response coordinator, noted that current worst-case models predict that as many as 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die as a result of COVID-19 even if people continue practicing social distancing techniques.
The military has already begun responding to the outbreak.
The U.S. Navy has sent one of its two hospital ships, the USNS Comfort, to New York to assist with patient overflow. Also, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has set up a major field hospital in a facility inside New York City.
In addition, President Trump said Wednesday the Pentagon may begin work soon on two more ships of similar size and with similar medical capabilities.