main news story
CDC Report Finds Minorities Affected Much More in Meatpacking Outbreaks

July 08, 2020 7:34pm

A new report studying the impact of the coronavirus on workers at meat processing plants has found that 87-percent of people infected were racial or ethnic minorities, and that at least 86 workers have died.

The report released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined more than 16-thousand COVID-19 cases at 239 plants in 21 states. It offers perspective on how the virus devastated U.S. pork, beef and poultry processing plants, but the figures likely understate the problem as Iowa officials declined to participate in the study.

Iowa is the nation’s largest pork-producing state, and saw severe coronavirus outbreaks at several huge processing plants. In early June, Tyson Foods confirmed an outbreak at their pork processing plant in Storm Lake, as nearly 600 employees tested positive.

The CDC report found 87-percent of coronavirus cases occurred among racial and ethnic minorities, even though they made up 61-percent of the overall worker population.

The data shows 56-percent of coronavirus illnesses involved Hispanic workers, 19-percent were non-Hispanic Blacks, and 12-percent were Asians. The data shows 13-percent of coronavirus cases involved white workers, who made up 39-percent of the overall workforce studied.