FEMA requests Pentagon's help in securing 100,000 body bags in preparing for COVID-19 spread

Posted at 11:29 AM, Apr 02, 2020

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has asked the Pentagon for help in securing 100,000 body bags as part of its planning efforts in battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bloomberg first broke the news of FEMA's request on Wednesday, and ABC News has also since confirmed the report. The Defense Logistics Agency is assisting FEMA in securing the bags, known in military terms as "human remains pouches."

"The Defense Logistics Agency is currently responding to FEMA's prudent planning efforts for 100,000 pouches to address mortuary contingencies on behalf of state health agencies," a Pentagon spokesperson told both Bloomberg and CNBC.

Bloomberg says FEMA will initially be able to draw from a stockpile of 50,000 bags.

FEMA's request comes as the Trump administration has shifted its tone toward the coronavirus pandemic in recent days.

In March, President Donald Trump downplayed the effects of the virus, comparing it to the flu, and late last week, said he would like to "re-open" the country by Easter. But earlier this week, Trump and his top health experts painted a grim picture of what's to come — a best-case scenario of at least 100,000 deaths linked to the virus.