The U.S. Agency for International Development ordered 5,000 body bags from a Florida company last month as part of its planned response to an outbreak of the Ebola virus in western Africa.
And as President Obama prepares to enlarge America’s aid to affected countries, a company that makes protective clothing says the State Department, which oversees USAID, has invited bids for 160,000 hazmat suits.
The body-bag purchase came on August 19, just after the World Health Organization said the epidemic had killed 1,000 people. That death toll is now greater than 2,400.
The size of the contracts indicates how seriously governments are taking the threat, especially considering that all 5,000 body bags were destined only for Liberia – one of three countries whose citizens have been hammered with new disease cases and paralyzed with fear.
And the purchase says nothing about what resources might be coming as part of other nations’ contributions.