Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota is closing after 240 of its employees fell ill with COVID-19, per CNN.

Why it matters: The plant accounts for 4–5% of all pork production in the U.S. and employs approximately 3,700 workers. The 240 Smithfield cases account for more than half of South Dakota's confirmed cases, which total 430.

What they're saying:

“The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply. It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers.”
— Smithfield President and CEO Kenneth Sullivan

The big picture: America isn't running out of food. But as Axios reported last month, there's increasing strain on the supply chain as the workers who produce and deliver our groceries are sheltering at home, quarantined or are (justifiably) too spooked to show up for work.

Go deeper: The workers feeding America

Go deeper

Harris previews dual role in debut speech: Attacking Trump and humanizing Biden

Sen. Kamala Harris began her first speech as Joe Biden's running mate excoriating President Trump for his "mismanagement" of the coronavirus and scorn for the racial justice movement, before quickly pivoting to how she came to know Biden: through her friendship with his late son Beau.

Why it matters: The debut speech on Wednesday underscored the dual roles that Harris will take on for the rest of the campaign — humanizing Biden during a moment of national crisis and "prosecuting" the case against Trump as a failed president.

19 mins ago - Health

The two sides of America's coronavirus response

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America's bungled political and social response to the coronavirus exists side-by-side with a record-breaking push to create a vaccine with U.S. companies and scientists at the center.

Why it matters: America's two-sided response serves as an X-ray of the country itself — still capable of world-beating feats at the high end, but increasingly struggling with what should be the simple business of governing itself.

Joe Biden introduces Kamala Harris in first joint appearance

Joe Biden formally introduced Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on Wednesday, telling a socially distanced audience in a Wilmington, Del., gymnasium: "I have no doubt that I picked the right person to join me as the next vice president of the United States of America."

Why it matters: Harris is a historic pick for vice president, becoming the first Black woman and first South Asian woman to be named to a major-party U.S. presidential ticket. "Kamala knows how to govern," Biden said. "She knows how to make the hard calls. She is ready to do this job on day one."