Tyson Foods announced it will be suspending operations indefinitely at its plant in Waterloo, Iowa, which is its largest U.S. pork plant. That plant’s closure means approximately 15% of pork processing capacity across the country has gone offline.
More than 150 of the country’s largest meat plants are in counties where the rate of COVID-19 infections is already relatively high. That’s according to a new investigation by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. The investigation found a rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meatpacking plants across the nation that’s far more extensive than first thought.
An extensive review of the cases shows that it could get worse. The rate of infection around those 150 plants is higher than the rates of infection in 75% of the other counties across the country. Experts say the industry has maintained a sufficient level of production. This despite infections in more than 2,200 workers at 48 plants.
Gary Anthone, the chief medical officer in Nebraska, says long-term care facilities were among the biggest initial concerns.
“If there’s one thing that’s keeping me up nights right now, it’s the meat processing and manufacturing plants,” he says.
(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)