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The Trump administration ordered more than 100,000 more body bags last month, according to NBC News, despite repeated insistence from the White House that the corner has been turned in the coronavirus pandemic.
The $5.1 million contract came just a day after Trump projected that the final death toll would end up around 50,000 or 60,000,. The current U.S. death toll in the U.S. stands at 63,000, according to the New York Times.
“As you know, the low number was supposed to be 100,000 people,” Trump said at a coronavirus press briefing on April 20. “We — we could end up at 50 to 60. Okay? It’s horrible. If we didn’t do what we did, we would have had, I think, a million people, maybe 2 million people, maybe more than that.”
The Department of Homeland Security contracted California-based E.M. Oil Transport on April 21 to produce 100,000 “human remains pouches,” or body bags, according to usaspending.gov. Though the total number of body bags ordered by the Trump administration is unclear, the federal government has awarded eight body bag contracts worth $12.1 million in the past 90 days to supply distributor ISO Group, according to NBC News.
The company’s marketing manager, Mike Pryor, said the order hadn’t been shipped or paid for yet. “I hope to God that they don’t need my order and that they cancel it,” Pryor told NBC News.
As the pandemic has continued to rage, the administration has pushed forward with plans to reopen the country this month.
More than half of all states have at least partially reopened in recent weeks. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, meanwhile, called the federal government’s response to the crisis a “great success story” in an interview with Fox News earlier this week.
“The eternal lockdown crowd can make jokes on late night television, but the reality is that the data is on our side,” Kushner said.
Cover: President Donald Trump speaks about protecting seniors, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)