President Donald Trump has painted a cheery image of the COVID-19 outbreak soon being tamed enough to reopen the economy while downplaying the death rate, but the federal government’s recent purchases signal that his own administration has a more grim outlook on the pandemic.
The Department of Homeland Security put in an order for 100,000 “human remains pouches” in a contract with construction supply firm E.M. Oil Transport, Inc. to the tune of $5.1 million dollars last week, per official government spending records.
The Department of Veteran Affairs also has eight contracts with ISO Group, Inc., a supply company for the defense industry,
The Department of Veteran Affairs also purchased body bags from ISO Group, Inc., a supply company for the defense industry, for $293,780 dollars, though the record does not disclose how many were ordered, only that the VA made the purchase “in response to COVID-19” and that the bags were delivered on Thursday.
The DHS and VA’s orders were first reported by NBC News, which also pointed out that the federal government awarded ISO Group, Inc. eight contracts for body bags totaling over $12 million dollars in the past 90 days.
Mike Pryor, the marketing manager at E.M. Oil Transport, told NBC News that the government has not paid for its order to the company or collected the 100,000 bags yet.
“I hope to God that they don’t need my order and that they cancel it,” he said.
The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. has already surpassed Trump’s predicted 60,000 fatalities from the virus, and his administration is apparently gearing up for far more even as the President claims that the country is on a trajectory to lift social distancing measures and go back to work soon.