How many people have died in the wake of Hurricane Katrina?
A couple of days ago, we refrained from passing on a report from the Shelbyville (Tenn.) Times-Gazette that quoted a Kentucky funeral owner who said that the government's Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team had told him that as many as 40,000 people may have died. The report seemed a little too attenuated, and the death toll it was predicting was much higher than any we'd seen elsewhere.
Maybe we were wrong. While we're still not seeing the 40,000 number anywhere else, the Associated Press is now reporting that government officials have 25,000 body bags at the ready in Louisiana. Asked if the government expects to use all of them, one state official told the AP: "We don't know what to expect."