North Carolina Lying About Meat Processing Plant Pandemic

GOP using laws meant to punish journalists for reporting tainted meat now covering up pandemic casualties

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 Pilgrim’s Pride chicken processing plant in Marshville, N.C. Photograph: Francisco Kjolseth/AP

Guardian: A chicken processing facility in western North Carolina reportedly underwent widespread testing for Covid-19 in early June.

Workers at the plant were scared. Several employees had already tested positive and the company, Case Farms – which has been repeatedly condemned for animal treatment and workers’ rights violations – was not providing proper protective equipment.

“We don’t have a lot of space at work. We are shoulder to shoulder,” said one worker, who declined to be identified, during a recent union call. “I’m afraid to go to work, but I have to go.”

On 8 June, the health department for Burke county, where the Case Farms facility is located, reported 136 new Covid cases, a 25% increase in its total caseload. Yet neither the company, county officials nor the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services would confirm whether those cases were connected to Case Farms.

It is just one example of the currently taut relationship between public health and the economy in North Carolina, as the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations rises.

North Carolina is one of the largest pork and poultry producing states in the US, exporting roughly $1.25bn in hogs, chickens and turkeys every year. Health departments in rural parts of the state, areas that often lean on large meatpacking or food processing facilities as primary sources of employment, have so far been tight-lipped about Covid-19 outbreaks in those plants.  read more

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/01/revealed-covid-19-outbreaks-meat-processing-plants-north-carolina

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