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  • The US government's primary disaster response agency is asking the Defense Department for 100 000 body bags, according to a Bloomberg report.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reportedly wanted the body bags as soon as possible.
  • The request comes as senior US health officials provided grim statistics for coronavirus-related fatalities in the coming weeks.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The US government's primary disaster response agency is requesting for 100 000 body bags from the Defense Department, according to a Bloomberg report published Wednesday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reportedly requested the body bags through an interagency group for "prudent planning," which also includes "mortuary contingencies," an agency spokesman said.

The military's logistical support agency didn't have a delivery date for the bags from FEMA, one person with knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg, though the federal agency made it clear it wants them as soon as possible. The Defense Department will reportedly supplement parts of the request from its own stockpile of 50 000 body bags, and will purchase more in the future.

The request comes as senior US health officials provided grim statistics for the number of coronavirus-related fatalities in the coming weeks.

President Donald Trump and his leading health advisers dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic revealed that statistical models indicated that roughly 100 000 and 240 000 Americans could die from the disease - even if Americans observed the strict social distancing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead," Trump said during a press conference at the White House on Tuesday. "We're going to go through a very tough two weeks."

Earlier worst-case scenario estimates predicted around 200,000 to 1.7 million deaths, and between 160 million and 214 million infections in the US. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were over 210 694 cases and over 4 700 deaths in the US.

Trump on Sunday announced he would extend his social distancing guidelines through April 30, citing continued concerns with the outbreak.

"Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory has been won," Trump said.

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