President Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep employees at meat processing plants working throughout the ongoing coronavirus epidemic despite the crowded conditions that make such workplaces ripe for fresh COVID-19 outbreaks.
Tyson — one of the nation’s largest producers and marketers of chicken, beef, and pork — said on Wednesday that 570 of the 2,244 employees at its Wilkesboro, North Carolina complex have contracted confirmed cases of COVID-19, the virus that has killed nearly 96,370 Americans nationwide so far.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 5,000 meat plant workers across 19 states have tested positive for COVID-19.
While Trump has used the Defense Production Act to require meat packers to continue working, the law has not been applied to manufacturing of swabs, masks, gloves or other protective gear, test equipment and medical devices necessary to combat the infectious disease.
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