A new study suggests that meat packing plants were responsible for thousands of COVID related deaths

There is a new study out that takes a close look at the meat packing industry and the pandemic.

The analysis broken down by Columbia University researchers looked at the connection between large meat packing facilities and the number of COVID cases in those counties. They said that plants are “transmission vectors in their surrounding populations.”

Researchers say that the industry may be responsible for as many as 310,000 COVID cases nationwide, through July, and as many as 5,200 deaths.

The percentages are low, 8 percent of cases and 4 percent of deaths, respectively, but researchers called livestock processing a “public health risk extending far beyond meat packing companies and their employees.”

Derrell Peel, an ag economist with Oklahoma State, noted, “This study does a reasonably good job of capturing the challenges that the meat packing industry in the U.S. faces in the context of a pandemic like this... The study highlights the fact that the nature of the industry... adds to the challenges that we have seen, especially during the early stages of the pandemic.”

Also host of RealAg Radio, Shaun Haney stated, “There were lots of industries that were really caught off guard by all the impacts of COVID-19... it is natural that it [packing plants] was hit somewhat harder...”