Rate of COVID-19 infections in meat plants 85% lower than general population

Agriculture

I’m Clinton Griffiths with today’s AgDay Minute.

While COVID-19 numbers are dropping across the country, it appears during the second virus surge last year, rural America was hit hard. This graphic from USDA’s Economic Research Service providing the data. You see large metro areas on this graphic in red. You can see the spike in virus death between March and June of last year. But look at the green line that represents rural America and it shows a surge in deaths from July to August of last year and continuing during the holiday season and shortly after, surpassing those in urban areas. Experts say the rural population appears to be more vulnerable to serious infection because of the older age of its population, higher rates of underlying medical conditions, lack of health insurance, and greater distance to an intensive care hospital.

Meatpackers continue to work to lower COVID-19 infections in their plants, and a new study from the North American Meat Institute appears to show those efforts are paying off. It reports infections in the meat sector are 85-percent lower than in the general population.

Get the COVID-19 vaccine and get a bonus. The juice maker Bolthouse Farms is paying workers a 5-hundred dol ars bonus for getting vaccinated. While Krispy Kreme is giving employees four hours of paid time off to get a shot, and customers can get a free doughnut if they have proof of immunization.

For more ag news watch AgDay, weekdays on this station. Or anytime at agweb.com.

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