Apr 11, 2020 - Economy

Coronavirus outbreaks plague meatpacking plants

A cooler of fresh meats

Photo: Aaron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Hundreds of workers at meat plants across the United States have reported they contracted the coronavirus this past week, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Concerns over worker safety continue to rise across the country, but the uptick in confirmed cases also raises questions about the fragility of the food supply chain.

By the numbers: Up to 50 people at a JBS SA beef facility in Colorado tested positive, on top of another 160 cases at a Cargill Inc. meatpacking plant in Pennsylvania, union officials announced Friday, per Bloomberg.

  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem confirmed Friday there are more than 190 cases at Smithfield Foods Inc, AP reports.

The big picture: Millions of Americans don't have the luxury of working from home, and essential food workers keep working so consumers can keep eating.

  • Social distancing can be difficult for workers who stand close together on processing lines, and those who share locker and break rooms.

Go deeper: The coronavirus pandemic threatens low-wage jobs

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