Bloomberg reports that the Pentagon is looking to provide as many as 100,000 body bags intended for civilian use during the coronavirus pandemic. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has requested 100,000 body bags, officially called Human Remains Pouches. The Pentagon wants to purchase them, shoring up its stockpile of 50,000.
The death toll in the United States is expected to spike in the coming weeks as the crisis mounts in different states. The virus has claimed the lives of at least 5,049 people in the United States according to current statistics.
Experts warn as many as 240,000 Americans could die during the crisis, according to the White House coronavirus task force.
The stores kept in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Strategic National Stockpile are almost gone, according to DHS officials.
“The stockpile was designed to respond to handful of cities. It was never built or designed to fight a 50-state pandemic,” said a DHS official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “This is not only a U.S. government problem. The supply chain for PPE worldwide has broken down, and there is a lot of price-gouging happening.”