DoD working to get 100,000 body bags in anticipation of increasing coronavirus deaths

This picture taken 26 December 2011 shows the Pentagon building in Washington, DC. By Barbara Starr, Priscilla Alvarez and Donald Judd, CNN

(CNN) -- As fatalities climb from the spread of coronavirus, the Department of Defense has moved to procure 100,000 body bags to accommodate increased demand from morgues across the country.

"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," DoD spokesman Lt. Col Mike Andrews announced in a release 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."

During a White House briefing on Tuesday, President Donald Trump warned of a "painful" and "tough" two-week stretch as his task force warned of the potential for between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths even if federal guidelines are followed precisely.

Earlier this week, FEMA told CNN the agency had already moved to address a looming surge in fatalities related to coronavirus, including launching plans for a second disaster relief morgue in New York City and activating a Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team to assist the New York Office of Chief Medical Examiner with fatality management and mortuary affairs.

In a statement, FEMA told CNN Tuesday, "FEMA is aware of many states' planning efforts to account for mortuary contingencies and has increased its posture to support these requests once received from the states. Prudent planning for these future conditions is taken very seriously by FEMA, and we are working with Regional and State health and emergency managers to ramp up available assets to meet contingency needs for the most affected areas."

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