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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.

Biden condemns Russian aggression on 7th anniversary of Crimea annexation

Putin giving a speech in Sevastapol, Crimea, in 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Ukraine and vowed to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in a statement on Friday, the 7th anniversary of Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Why it matters: The statement reflects the aggressive approach Biden is taking to Russia, which he classified on the campaign trail as an "opponent" and "the biggest threat" to U.S. security and alliances.