It only took a month to break the U.S. meat supply chain. Workers operate elbow-to-elbow in massive factories that have become the center of coronavirus hot spots, with thousands of employees falling sick and at least 20 deaths. Shutdowns at major slaughter plants started in early April. Even though it was just about a dozen closures, producers have such a stranglehold on output that it leaves few remedies when even a handful of facilities are down. Grocery-store shelves have run empty, beef and pork prices are surging and farmers were forced to destroy tens of thousands of animals.
By The Numbers
- More than 4,900 U.S. meat-plant workers who have been diagnosed with the disease, according to the CDC
- 25The approximate percentage of pork slaughtering capacity lost because of shutdowns
- 51The percentage increase in wholesale pork prices, according to the USDA
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