DOD Buys 100,000 Body Bags For FEMA's COVID-19 Response

Credit: U.S. Defense Department

The Pentagon is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by procuring 100,000 body bags for potential novel coronavirus victims on behalf of state health agencies.

The Defense Department and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) have a longstanding arrangement with FEMA to acquire “key commodities” during crisis response operations such as the COVID-19 crisis, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said in an April 2 statement.

“DLA is currently responding to FEMA’s prudent planning efforts for 100,000 pouches to address mortuary contingencies,” Andrews wrote.

If the U.S. did not implement mitigation methods such as stay-at-home orders or social distancing, 1.5-2.2 million deaths would have been likely, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The next two weeks are critical to slow the virus, and urban areas are the most deadly.

Washington state is “past the spike” and California is beginning to peak, she said. Other hot spots include Boston, Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans, while New York and New Jersey got off to a late start.

U.S. deaths will continue to increase daily over the next two weeks, but mitigation efforts are working, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.