The Pentagon orders 100,000 body bags for FEMA amid dire prediction of 200,000 virus dead – as it’s claimed defense chiefs warned Trump White House of potential coronavirus crisis in 2017
- More than 4,770 people had died from COVID-19 in the US by Wednesday
- The government is expected to draw the next 50,000 body bags from a stockpile
- Pentagon wants 100,000 remains pouches, according to a source
- The green nylon body bags are usually distributed to war zones and measure up at 94 inches (7.8 feet) by 38 inches (3.2 feet)
- FEMA did not have a specific delivery date for the military-style remains pouches
- A 2017 report from the Pentagon warns the Trump admin about the threat of a coronavirus and says it could be worsened by a shortage of PPE equipment
- It predicts that proximity to international airports, crowded work places and unsanitary conditions could cause a novel coronavirus to reach pandemic levels
- In New York, forklifts have been used to help list dead bodies into refrigerated trucks
- The COVID-19 death toll in NYC is 1,139 and 47,439 confirmed cases and hospitals have been using bed sheets to wrap bodies because they no longer have bags
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
The Pentagon is ordering 100,000 body bags as experts predict the coronavirus will claim the lives of more than 200,000 Americans and a new report has suggested the Trump administraion was warned about the threat of coronavirus three years ago but failed to prepare.
By Wednesday evening the US death toll had surpassed 4,770 and 90 percent of the country was on lockdown to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
With more than 215,000 cases, the government was expected to get the next 50,000 body bags from a stockpile, however preparations were being made to triple up as hospitals and morgues became overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and were quickly running out of space in states such as California and New York.
On Tuesday, a forklift was used to help lift dead bodies onto a refrigerated truck outside the Brooklyn Hospital Center. The COVID-19 death toll in the city is 1,139 and 47,439 confirmed cases and hospitals have been using bed sheets to wrap bodies because they no longer have body bags.
FEMA did not have a specific delivery date for the next 100,000 military-style remains pouches. Pictured, dead bodies are loaded onto a truck outside Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York on Tuesday
A forklift is used to help as dead bodies are loaded onto a truck outside Brooklyn Hospital Center. NYC hospitals have been using bed sheets to wrap bodies because they no longer have body bags, pictured Monday
President Donald Trump 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 US even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not have a specific delivery date for the military-style remains pouches, sources told Bloomberg Wednesday.
The green nylon body bags are usually distributed to war zones and measure up at 94 inches (7.8 feet) by 38 inches (3.2 feet).
A source said, the bags have not yet been ordered but the Defense Logistics Agency’s Troop Support unit, which manages the Pentagon’s stockpile, was looking into the request. A FEMA spokesperson said there will be ‘prudent planning’ that includes preparing for ‘mortuary contingencies’.
After it was predicted the death toll in the US would hit 200,000 President Trump told the country to brace for a tough time ahead.
‘This is going to be a painful two weeks,’ Trump said at a White House coronavirus briefing on Tuesday. ‘Our strength will be tested, our endurance will be tried.’
A COVID-19 patient arrives at a field hospital built by Christian humanitarian organization Samaritans Purse, Central Park, New York on Wednesday
Dr Tony Fauci, the country’s leading virus expert, painted a grim picture for Americans on Tuesday when he warned that people should be prepared for 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus
On Monday, the vice director of operations for the the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Major General Jeff Taliaferro, said they ‘are in close partnership’ with FEMA to ‘identify what their needs are.
Taliaferro said Monday’s ‘mission assignments’ included requests for prepackaged Meals Ready to Eat (MRE), and ‘other supplies’ as well as ‘a mission assignment from FEMA for a mortuary affairs support team for New York’. Taliaferro added they are ‘in the process of identifying’ personnel.
FEMA is working with state and regional health and emergency managers to distribute pouches where needed.
However a new report has claimed Trump was warned about the devastating effects of a coronavirus on January 6, 2017.
‘The most likely and significant threat is a novel respiratory disease, particularly a novel influenza disease,’ the USNORTHCOM Branch Plan 3560: Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Disease Response, states. ‘Coronavirus infections [are] common around the world.’
The Pentagon document, obtained by The Nation, leans on findings from 2012’s Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a type of coronavirus, and ‘incorporates insights from several recent outbreaks’.
The 103-page documents warns that an outbreak could reach pandemic levels due to a number of factors that are the case with the 2019 virus; unsanitary living conditions, crowded workplaces, and proximity to international airports.
It also warns that it would be worsened by a shortage in PPE.
‘Competition for, and scarcity of resources will include…non-pharmaceutical MCM [Medical Countermeasures] (e.g., ventilators, devices, personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves), medical equipment, and logistical support,’ is mentioned in the document. ‘This will have a significant impact on the availability of the global workforce.’
Above shows how the number of coronavirus cases and deaths have escalated in the United States
Pentagon Influenza Response by Ken Klippenstein on Scribd
The document also predicts a lack of hospitals beds.
‘Even the most industrialized countries will have insufficient hospital beds, specialized equipment such as mechanical ventilators, and pharmaceuticals readily available to adequately treat their populations during clinically severe pandemic,’ it states.
The document has been shared after the likes of California and New York’s governors have stressed they are fast running out of space to accommodate COVID-19 patients and Navy hospital ships Mercy and Comfort have supplied 1,000 extra beds for patients who are not suffering from coronavirus.
Recent images out of New York and New Jersey have shown medical workers hauling bodies into refrigerated trucks. The states have the highest COVID-19 death tolls in the country.
New deaths from the coronavirus rose by 908 on Wednesday while new infections across the country increased by 25,676.
More than 40 percent of the country’s fatal cases come from New York state where the death toll rose by 391 to 1,941. New York state also saw an increase of 7,917 cases to bring the total number of new infections to 83,712.
New Jersey is second behind New York with 267 deaths and 18,997 infections.
Michigan now has the third highest death toll in the country after reporting a spike in its figures over night. The state recorded 75 new deaths, bringing its death toll to 259. Michigan has more than 7,600 confirmed cases.
Trump was warned about the devastating effects of a coronavirus on January 6, 2017 in a document from the Pentagon
The document also predicts a lack of hospitals beds. ‘Even the most industrialized countries will have insufficient hospital beds, specialized equipment such as mechanical ventilators, and pharmaceuticals readily available to adequately treat their populations during clinically severe pandemic,’ it states
Volunteers from the International Christian relief organization Samaritans Purse set up an Emergency Field Hospital for patients suffering from the coronavirus in Central Park across Fifth Avenue from Mt. Sinai Hospital on Tuesday
A convoy of ambulances with Ohio and Michigan license plates were seen heading toward New York City on Tuesday as officials announced that FEMA was sending 250 emergency vehicles to the coronavirus hotspot.
Video shows the string of at least 10 ambulances driving westbound on Interstate 80 in New Jersey.
The video was filmed around the same time that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced that FEMA was sending 250 ambulances and approximately 500 EMTs and paramedics to New York City.
In NYC, emergency services are responding to around 6,000 calls a day, more than 50 percent above average.
Trump has said he has been speaking to Germany about buying a vaccine but some experts have said it could be years until one is developed. The Pentagon document also accurately predicts global competition for a vaccine.
Meanwhile, infection rates continue to climb.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Sunday that the last five days have been the busiest stretch in the history of the city’s EMS operation. It comes as FDNY ranks are getting hit hard by the pandemic, with more than 282 personnel infected.
New York City’s ambulances are responding to about 6,000 calls a day – more than twice the usual number. Medics are seen unloading a patient at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens on Monday
The US death toll has now surpassed the number of deaths reported in China (3,309) where the outbreak first emerged back in December.
The death toll in Italy (12,428) and Spain (9,053) is still higher than the United States.
Trump has 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 US even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.
Trump called it ‘a matter of life and death’ for Americans to heed his administration’s guidelines and predicted the country would soon see a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
‘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… We’re going to lose thousands of people.’
The jaw-dropping projections were laid out as 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. 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 War II.
Dr Tony Fauci, the country’s leading virus expert, called the numbers ‘sobering’ and urged Americans to ‘step on the accelerator’ with their collective mitigation efforts.
Trump’s comments came after he announced on Sunday that he was extending to April 30 the social distancing guidelines that advise Americans to cease large gatherings, work from home, suspend onsite learning at schools and more in a nationwide effort to stem the spread of the virus.
It was an abrupt reversal for Trump who spent much of last week targeting April 12 as the day he wanted to see Americans ‘pack the pews’ for Easter Sunday services.
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