FEMA seeks 100,000 body bags from Pentagon as coronavirus pandemic worsens

Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked the Pentagon for 100,000 body bags, a chilling request as the COVID-19 pandemic spirals.

Known as mortuary pouches, the heavy-duty zippered bags are typically used in the military to contain the remains of troops killed in combat. Wednesday, more than 1,000 people died of the coronavirus in the USA, raising the death toll over 5,000. A week ago, the total was less than 1,300. 

"The Department of Defense and the Defense Logistics Agency have a long-standing arrangement with FEMA to procure key commodities from DLA's industrial partners during crisis response operations,” Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement Thursday. “DLA is currently responding to FEMA's prudent planning efforts for 100,000 pouches to address mortuary contingencies on behalf of state health agencies."

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Bloomberg first reported the FEMA request for body bags.

The virus has killed more than 50,000 people worldwide and infected more than 981,000.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: FEMA seeks 100,000 body bags from Pentagon for COVID-19