US Senators grill meatpackers | Meat factory Covid-19 outbreaks linked to canteens and car-sharing, says Minister
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Here’s what antibody tests for Covid-19 tell us. Zania Stamataki. From serology to T-cells, there’s still a lot we don’t know …
|Google Alert – covid-19 in meat plants workers: Meat factory Covid-19 outbreaks linked to canteens and car-sharing, says Minister|
Three workers also died from coronavirus after a small outbreak at a meat processing plant in Barnsley last month. Eleven workers were diagnosed …
|US Senators grill meatpackers over exports to China during coronavirus crisis|
US Senators grill meatpackers over exports to China during coronavirus crisis
25 June 2020Two Senate Democrats are questioning Americas top meatpackers to disclose how much pork, beef and chicken they shipped to China during the coronavirus outbreak before the end of the month.
|Google Alert – covid-19 in meat plants workers: US Senators grill meatpackers over exports to China during coronavirus crisis|
… of meatpacking giants like JBS USA, Tyson Foods and Smithfield Foods comes after thousands of meat plant workers were infected with COVID–19.
|Meat processing plant Covid-19 outbreaks like at Kober in Yorkshire linked to canteens and car-sharing, says George Eustice|
Outbreaks of Covid-19 at meat processing factories in England and Wales are thought to be linked to canteens and car-sharing schemes, the Environment Secretary has said.
Thursday, 25th June 2020, 1:11 pm
George Eustice told the Commons that the Government will issue new guidance to plants to try to stop further spread.
A meat processing site owned by Asda in Cleckheaton last week became the third food plant in 48 hours to confirm an outbreak after about 150 workers fell ill with the virus. The Kober plant, which supplies bacon to Asda supermarkets and employs more than 500 people, has closed until this week with a test-and-trace programme under way.
Three workers also died from coronavirus after a small outbreak at a meat processing plant in Barnsley last month. Eleven workers were diagnosed with the virus and seven were hospitalised at Cranswick Convenience Foods in Wombwell.
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On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government is investigating the cause, while chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the cold environment in such factories could be a factor.
In Germany, Europe’s largest meat processing plant suffered a Covid-19 outbreak which resulted in approximately 7,000 people being quarantined.
During Environment Questions, Labour’s Luke Pollard asked whether statutory sick pay is high enough to ensure people do not feel compelled to work even if they are ill.
Responding, Mr Eustice said: “We have had now three outbreaks linked to meat plants. These have been picked up through the testing and tracing approach that has been adopted, and we are reviewing the guidance.
“We suspect that these outbreaks might have been linked either to canteens or potentially to car-sharing arrangements in those plants.
“And we will be revising guidance to ensure that businesses have the approach that they need to prevent further outbreaks in the future.”
During the same session in the Commons, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman returned to the topic of meat processing plants.
He asked Mr Eustice: “Does he agree that the future of British agriculture and the British food industry has to be based on quality and shorter supply chains as we come out of this pandemic?
“Will he join me in calling for an investigation into what is happening in our meat processing plants? Some of them look rather strange.
“In the four that I have looked at, many of the workers are reluctant to take a test because they would lose money and be isolated. That is a real problem. Could he look into it?”
Mr Eustice responded: “I agree with the hon. Gentleman that this country has built a proud record based on the quality of our food and food provenance in particular, and we will maintain that.
“On the specific point that he raises about outbreaks of coronavirus at three meat plants, we are looking at that and have been investigating the causes of it. We suspect, as I said earlier, that it is linked either to shared transport or canteen areas, and new guidance will be issued to those meat plants.”
|The first coronavirus wave isn’t overand it’s getting worse|
Last week, in the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, Vice President Mike Pence made a highly misleading claim: There is no second wave of coronavirus in the United States, he wrote, and the Trump administration is winning the war against the invisible enemy.
Epidemiologists mostly agree on the first pointalthough not for the reason that Pence gave.
He was completely right that were not in the second wave, says Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. This is not a second wave, because were still in the first wave.
At the national level, the number of new cases seemed to peak in April and decreased throughout May. But in fact, much of the decline was driven by the New York metropolitan area, previously the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. In states that neglected social-distancing guidelines, the coronavirus continued to spread.
Now, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are rising in 26 states, weeks after parts of the country began to reopen. Hotspots including Arizona, Texas, and Florida are reporting thousands of new infections. On Wednesday, the country recorded its highest single-day total of new cases: 38,115.
Fast Company spoke to four epidemiologists to get a better understanding of Americas ongoing battle with coronavirus. The overall consensus was chilling: Despite more than 2.3 million confirmed infections and 120,000 deaths, few states are taking the necessary steps to halt the spread of the virus. A recent University of Washington study expects more than 200,000 people in the U.S. will lose their lives to COVID-19 by October 1.
We may feel like were done with the pandemic, says Jha, but the pandemic, unfortunately, is not done with us.
The wave fallacy
The concept of virus waves can be useful in epidemiology. Certain infectious diseases do exhibit seasonality, such as influenza, which tends to spread between fall and winter, with an initial spike in December and then a much larger one in February. There were also noticeable waves in the Spanish flu pandemic, which featured at least three distinct peaks in the United States. The second, more deadly wave hit in the fall of 1918.
Dr. Ali Khan
Perhaps a better metaphor for the spread of COVID-19 is illustrated by the virus itself. Under a microscope, MERS-CoV looks like a smooth, round particle studded with clubbed spikes of various lengths. Like the virus, the lifecycle of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to feature numerous spikes of differing duration and intensity. For epidemiologists, its vital that the public have clear expectations for how the virus circulatesand what it will take to stop it.
The long haul
Experts largely agree on the goals for virus suppression. Until we have safe and effective vaccine that everyone takes, what needs to happen is we try and sustain this low level of transmission, which I think is a balancing act, says Wafaa El-Sadr, an infectious disease specialist at Columbia University. She says that will involve wearing masks and limiting social contacts consistently. But she worries that, thanks to disinformation like Pences op-ed, public health messaging has become politicized.
Theres this pitting of public health against economic health, but we dont want to pit those against each other, she says. Its vital that people are able to get back to work, she says, but they need to wear face coverings and keep an appropriate distance from colleagues. We need these public health measures, we need to sustain them as much as possible until we have a vaccine, she says.
Most of the recommendations from epidemiologists are simple: Wash hands frequently, wear masks when out in public, and only leave the house if you have to. Its all about, what can you do to reduce risks? says Jha.
Dr. Steffanie Strathdee
In the absence of federal leadership, however, states have been left to fend for themselvesleading to a patchwork of regional protocols that can vary substantially. New Yorkers, for instance, are required to wear masks when they are not able to put six feet of distance between themselves and others. Coloradans are only required to wear face coverings if they are essential workers. In Arizona, the governor only recently allowed local governments to mandate masksand many people are ignoring the rules altogether.
Lets face it, this virus is not going away, she sighs. Its going to get worse before it gets better.
|Germany slaughterhouse outbreak brings police, mass testing|
Frank Jordans and Mstyslav Chernov, Associated Press
Photo: David Inderlied, AP
Employees of a grocery store deliver ordered products in plastic bags to residents of apartment buildings that are partly under quarntine due to a new coronavirus outbreak in Verl, Germany, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. After the new coronavirus outbreak at the meat processor Tönnies in the city of Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, the authorities imposed a lockdown also for the city of Gütersloh and the neighbouring district. (David Inderlied/dpa via AP)
Employees of a grocery store deliver ordered products in plastic bags to residents of apartment buildings that are partly under quarntine due to a new coronavirus outbreak in Verl, Germany, Wednesday, June 24,
Photo: David Inderlied, AP
Germany slaughterhouse outbreak brings police, mass testing
VERL, Germany (AP) German police deployed hundreds of officers Thursday across two western regions that have been placed under a renewed pandemic lockdown in an attempt to contain a coronavirus outbreak linked to a slaughterhouse.
Many are migrants from Eastern Europe who come to Germany legally in the hope of earning many times what they might make in their home countries. Now, they rely on food delivered by their companies or help from friendly neighbors such as Aved Elias, who brought trolleys full of goods to quarantined residents Wednesday.
Elias’ comment reflect widespread sympathy in the city of Guetersloh for the migrant workers, whose often dire workplace and living conditions have been put in the spotlight by the coronavirus outbreak. Like other companies in the German meat industry, Toennies has long used subcontractors for much of the work in its plants, a practice that critics say allows the company to avoid the stricter oversight it would face if it employed workers directly.
North Rhine-Westphalia state governor Armin Laschet, whose center-right party has received significant donations from Toennies over the years, acknowledged this week that the company’s readiness to cooperate could have been greater.
|Disease X-19: Google Alert covid-19 and pork: US agents seize nearly 10 tonnes of illegal meat at California port|