US meat packing industries register over 10,000 Covid-19 cases
Washington, May 7 (Prensa Latina) Over 10,000 Covid-19 cases in the US are linked to the meat packing industry, which has registered fast growth in the spread of the novel coronavirus recently, issued this Thursday the USA Today daily.
According to the journal, at least 170 plants in 29 states have had one or more workers tested positive for the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 disease, and at least 45 employees in those locations died from the pandemic.
The outbreaks brought about some 40 closings of slaughter and processing plants, leading to a meat shortage in several US areas of the US, the hardest hit country by the coronavirus worldwide with over 1,200,000 cases.
Because of those closures, President Donald Trump issued an executive order on April 28 to keep the plants open and he advocates reopening the American economy as soon as possible despite alerts from healthcare experts.
Over a week later, the daily indicated, closings at those facilities continue as at least seven coronavirus-affected packing plants have stopped operations recently, in line with an average of eight weekly closings recorded before Trump's executive order.
Many companies have already said they have implemented social distancing measures for workers, but Smithfield Foods, one of the largest companies in the industry, noted meeting those guidelines is difficult.
Following Trump's order, various voices expressed concern about the safety of workers; meanwhile some sources noted that the executive action granted a disclaimer to companies in case employees contract the virus at work. Indeed, this week a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Smithfield Foods worker in Missouri, who assured the plant where he works provides insufficient protective equipment for employees and arranges breaks so that staff are gathered in hallways and narrow bathrooms.
Among other arguments to deny the lawsuit, Judge Greg Kays argued that under Trump's order, the federal government, and not the courts, is responsible for monitoring working conditions in those places.
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