11,000 coronavirus cases tied to three meat processors: report
More than 11,000 cases of COVID-19 have been tied to plants of the three top U.S. meat processors, Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods and JBS, according to a Washington Post analysis.
There were just over 3,000 reported cases at processing plants a month ago.
President Trump signed an executive order to compel meat processing plants to stay open April 28 after coronavirus outbreaks sparked closures and led to shortages at grocery stores and fast food chains.
Worker deaths from coronavirus have tripled in the last month, according to the analysis. There were 17 reported deaths in April and now there are at least 63, according to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.
Twenty-nine percent of South Dakota’s total cases are linked to processing plant workers, as are 20 percent of Nebraska’s cases and 18 percent of Iowa’s cases, according to the Environmental Working Group.
At Tyson Foods plants alone, more than 7,000 workers have tested positive for the coronavirus, up from fewer than 1,600 a month ago.
More than 700 new cases have emerged from four plants that have reopened since the executive order. Those locations include Tyson Foods plants in Logansport, Ind., Perry, Iowa, and Waterloo, Iowa, and a Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Nearly all closed plants have reopened since Trump’s order. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said early this month that all closed plants would reopen within 10 days, a goal that fell one plant short.