FEMA placed the $5.1 million order to a California-based company on April 21. Officials expect the order to be fulfilled by May 4.
In April, FEMA asked the Pentagon for help in securing 100,000 body bags in anticipation of the spread of the coronavirus. According to The Wall Street Journal, the April 21 purchase is "separate" from that request.
A day before FEMA placed the order for the body bags, President Donald Trump told reporters that he expected between 60,000 and 70,000 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus. As of Friday, more than 63,000 people were confirmed to have been killed by the virus, according to a database kept by Johns Hopkins.
The University of Washington's
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
— a model routinely used by the White House — currently projects that the virus will kill just over 72,000 Americans by August. Other models cited by the
project as many as 100,000 deaths.