Apr 16, 2020 - Health

South Dakota pork plant becomes largest coronavirus hot spot in U.S.

A Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., is the largest single hotspot of coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: At least 644 cases of the virus have been traced back to the plant, and its sick employees make up around 44% of the state's diagnoses.

  • The plant, which accounts for 4–5% of all pork production in the U.S. and employs approximately 3,700 workers, closed last week.
  • Many of Smithfield's employees are non-English speaking immigrants, though Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said hospitals in the city have translators that can help screen patients, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

The big picture: Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have traveled to the city to assess how the outbreak spiraled out of control.

  • Sioux Falls is the state's largest city with a population of around 190,750.
  • Despite the outbreak, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has refused to order residents to stay at home, NBC reports.
  • The plant was staffed with essential workers, so a stay-at-home order would not necessarily have prevented the outbreak at the plant.
  • The South Dakota Department of Health coronavirus models project that 30% of the state’s population is expected to contract the virus, the Leader reports.

The state has so far reported 1,168 cases and 6 deaths from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Go deeper: The coronavirus chain reaction

Go deeper

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

Coronavirus cases spike in Texas, Oregon and Arizona

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Naema Ahmed/Axios

Texas, Arizona and Oregon saw significant spikes last week in new coronavirus infections, while cases also continued to climb in a handful of states where steady increases have become the norm.

Why it matters: Nationwide, new cases have plateaued over the past week. To get through this crisis and safely continue getting back out into the world, we need them to go down — a lot.

Jun 3, 2020 - Health

DeSantis says Florida bars and clubs can reopen this week

Outdoor restaurant in Fort Lauderdale on May 18. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that bars and clubs will be allowed to reopen on Friday, as the state continues to scale down restrictions it put in place because of the coronavirus, WCTV reports.

Why it matters: DeSantis ordered bars and clubs to close in mid-March as one of the first actions the state took to stem the spread of the coronavirus.