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May 27, 2020 - SALON

Trump's order to reopen meatpacking plants caused a huge coronavirus outbreak among workers

Trump's order to reopen meatpacking plants caused a huge coronavirus outbreak among workers
Human animal flesh factory workersFile Photo / © Photabulous!

Trump's executive order has caused thousands of new cases among terrified meatpacking workers.

On April 26, a blog post written by John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods, caused a flurry of headlines that speculated a meat shortage was on the horizon due to stay-at-home orders across the country to flatten the curve.

"As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain," Tyson wrote. "As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed."

Two days later, an April 28 executive order by the Trump administration — by way of Trump invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) — encouraged meat plants to reopen. Nearly a month later, and more than half of the 30 meat processing plants that were closed have reopened. Yet all has not gone well: according to a Washington Post analysis, the number of coronaviruses cases among Tyson workers has gone from under 1,600 a month ago to more than 7,000.

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