A rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meatpacking plants across the nation is far more extensive than previously thought, according to an independent review of cases by USA TODAY. Operators in processing plants may have to choose between worker health or meat in stores. More than 150 of America’s largest meat processing plants operate in counties where the rate of coronavirus infection is already among the nation’s highest. But rather than increase safety and oversight, the USDA relaxed it. The agency allowed 15 poultry plants to exceed federal limits on how many birds workers can process in a minute. Coronavirus infections had spread in at least 48 U.S. meatpacking plants, sickening more than 2,200 people and killing 17, USA TODAY found. The outbreaks also have prompted the closure of at least 17 facilities. This month beef production is down 19% from last year. Despite the potential for meatpacking plants to become hotbeds of infection due to the close quarters in which employees work, some plants declined to close the facilities due to their importance to the food supply. @ https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2020/04/22/meat-packing-plants-covid-may-force-choice-worker-health-food/2995232001/
USA TODAY investigation finds that coronavirus at meatpacking plants is worse than first thought
Coronavirus at meatpacking plants worse than first thought, USA TODAY investigation finds
Coronavirus closed Smithfield and JBS meatpacking plants. Many more are at risk. Operators may have to choose between worker health or meat in stores.