Meatpacking plants in the U.S. remain hot spots for coronavirus outbreaks in the wake of President Trump’s order declaring them essential businesses that must remain open.
Although meat production has rebounded since the order, the number of cases tied to such facilities has since increased by more than 100 percent to 20,400 infections across 216 plants in 33 states, according to an analysis by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.
At least 74 meatpacking workers have died from the coronavirus, despite safety precautions such as temperature checks, plastic barriers and social distancing. Tyson Foods said in mid-April that it would install barriers and provide masks to all workers, but 24 of its facilities have since reported outbreaks, with two such outbreaks in Iowa sickening more than 800 workers. Only five of the company’s plants had outbreaks before the safety measures were announced.
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