U.S. stocks up on body bags in preparation for possible second wave of COVID-19 deaths
05/03/2020 // Cassie B. // Views

The U.S. federal government has just ordered 100,000 body bags as they prepare for what they consider a "worst-case scenario" in the coronavirus crisis.

The contract shows that the bags cost $5.1 million and will be delivered by May 4 from a California company. The order was placed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on April 21, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The order for what are termed “human remains pouches” was placed as deaths in the U.S. approach 60,000. This purchase is reportedly not related to an initial order of 100,000 body bags in response to a request by FEMA that the Defense Department provide it with the bags for civilian use.

Those bags have already been distributed to coronavirus hotspots throughout the nation, where they’ve been allocated according to state requests and mortality rates.

The new order is reportedly being sought for a potential resurgence this fall or any other disasters that may arise.

A FEMA spokeswoman said: “In order to meet the worst-case demand models, FEMA initiated a broad range of acquisition contracts to augment available stocks and produce more human-remains pouches for future requirements should they be needed."

FEMA has signed hundreds of contracts for COVID-19 test kits, personal protective equipment and supplies for food banks since taking over pandemic response coordination from the Health and Human Services Department in the middle of March.

On Monday, President Trump said he expects the pandemic to cost as many as 70,000 American lives.


Reopening too soon could be a fatal mistake

Despite this grim news, many state governors are moving forward with plans to reopen businesses, even as experts warn that ending lockdowns too early could lead to new and potentially deadlier waves of infections. Some have even suggested waiting until an effective vaccine is developed and widely distributed.

Stay at home orders are in full swing in many places around the country, but some states are already looking at reopening. Plans are underway for businesses considered “low risk” to start reopening in California in the coming weeks, although they must stick to social distancing guidelines. The state reported record deaths just last week, but now their numbers are starting to go down.

In New York, meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that they’ll consider reopening when the hospitals there drop to at least 30 percent below capacity. In Texas, malls, movie theaters, restaurants and other retailers will be allowed to reopen on May 1.

The World Health Organization has warned that countries should exercise caution when it comes to easing restrictions as it could lead to a deadly resurgence of the disease.

According to the Daily Mail, more American lives have now been lost to coronavirus than during the Vietnam War. The war lasted almost two decades and took the lives of 58,220 Americans; the coronavirus death toll in the country as of April 29 stood at 58,741. With a total caseload exceeding 1 million, which equals a third of the worldwide cases, the U.S. is easily outnumbering hotspots like Spain and Italy.

In addition to exceeding the Vietnam War death toll, coronavirus has also killed more people than the seasonal flu, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent statistics show that there have been 122,000 deaths above and beyond the levels typically seen in 14 countries during March and April, and many of these were likely due to coronavirus. The report from the Financial Times goes on to estimate that the actual total of coronavirus deaths around the world could be as high as 318,000 – well above the official COVID-19 death toll of 201,000.

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