People demonstrating the Trump administration’s coronavirus response leave fake body bags outside the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, on April 23, 2020.
The US federal government ordered more than 100,000 body bags in April to keep up with a surge of coronavirus deaths, according to documents obtained by NBC News.
While the orders were being placed, President Donald Trump was publicly estimating that only 60,000 Americans would die.
When the US death toll reached that number on Wednesday, the president quickly upped his estimates to 70,000 casualties.
But a new White House model this week said that number could actually reach 130,000 by early August.
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As President Donald Trump publicly estimated that coronavirus deaths would top out at 60,0000, the federal government was planning for a much worse outcome — by buying more than 100,000 body bags.
This is according to internal administration documents and public records reported by NBC News on Friday.
The US surpassed 60,000 deaths on Wednesday — what was previously regarded as a “best-case scenario.” Since then, Trump has revised his estimates of the US death toll to between 60,000 and 70,0000 deaths.
But a model released by the White House and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation this week showed that deaths could actually reach as high as 130,000 by early August.
Related: Why the Strategic National Stockpile Wasn’t Prepared
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One of the biggest orders for “human remains pouches” was placed by the Department of Homeland Security on April 21, with a firm in Montebello, California called E.M. Oil Transport Inc.
The company’s marketing manager, Mike Pryor, said the $5.1 million order has not been paid for or shipped to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) yet.
“I hope to God that they don’t need my order and that they cancel it,” Pryor told NBC News.
Trump has faced criticism for pushing states to reopen when the US is still grappling with coronavirus, and for downplaying the outbreak’s impact.
Protesters staged a demonstration outside of his Washington, DC, hotel last week, laying fake body bags outside the building to illustrate how the administration’s tackling of the crisis was costing lives.
The White House did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.