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Pentagon Seeking 100,000 Body Bags in Coronavirus Crisis, Hospital Ships Arrive in New York

Over 245,000 confirmed cases have been reported in US with 6057 deaths as of Friday morning — 1562 of the fatalities have been reported in New York (highest in the country), according to JHU live tracker.

DESPARDES — The Pentagon is seeking to provide as many as 100,000 military-style body bags for potential civilian use as the Trump administration warns that deaths could soar in the coming weeks from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has requested 100,000 body bags, known as Human Remains Pouches, through an interagency group that directed it to the Defense Department, Bloomberg reports.

“This is going to be one of the roughest 2 or 3 weeks we’ve ever had in our country […] We’re going to lose thousands of people”, President Trump said earlier this week [video] [transcript]. He warned Americans to brace for a “hell of a bad two weeks” ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.

The move is a somber counterpoint to the Pentagon’s highly-praised deployment of two hospital ships (1000-beds each) to New York and Los Angeles to help alleviate pressure on regional hospitals overburdened by the pandemic, wrote Bloomberg.

“This ship is a step forward in our fight against Coronavirus, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted on March 30 with “Welcome to New York”.

Days later the the jaw-dropping projections laid out during a grim, two-hour White House briefing pushed the hospital ship news away from the front page.

Officials described a death toll that in a best-case scenario would likely be greater than the more than 53,000 American lives lost during World War I. And the model’s high end neared the realm of possibility that Americans lost to the virus could approach the 291,000 Americans killed on the battlefield during World II.

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump said.

“This is going to be one of the roughest two or three weeks we’ve ever had in our country,” Trump added. “We’re going to lose thousands of people.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert added, “This is a number that we need to anticipate, but we don’t necessarily have to accept it as being inevitable.”

“There’s no magic bullet,” Birx said. “There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors. Each of our behaviors, translating into something that changes the course of this viral pandemic.”

Fauci called the numbers “sobering” and urged Americans to “step on the accelerator” with their collective mitigation efforts.

As of Friday, coronavirus cases worldwide have crossed 1 million with 13,915 deaths in Italy and over 10,000 deaths in Spain. In US, over 245,000 confirmed cases have been reported with 6057 deaths as of Friday morning — 1562 of the fatalities have been reported in New York (highest in the country).

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