Cold air may be the culprit of massive coronavirus outbreaks in meatpacking plants across the US in a worrying sign that cases may surge this winter


·         Thousands of meatpacking plant workers across the country have contracted coronavirus

·         Meatpacking plants must be kept at cold temperatures to keep meat fresh, but studies suggest cold air may allow the virus to survive longer outside a body

·         Scientists are studying how temperatures, ventilation and work conditions may fuel the spread in the plants, and whether winter could bring more cases 

·         Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19


By Natalie Rahhal, Daily Mail (UK)

23 June 2020


Meatpacking plants across the US have become notorious hotspots for coronavirus, and the cold air inside them may be fanning the flames of the virus's spread.


Thousands of workers at meat processing facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 20 have died.


The same cold temperatures and forceful ventilation that help to kill off bacteria that might otherwise contaminate meat may actually help preserve coronavirus and allow viral particles to fly from worker to worker.


American workers aren't alone in these high infection rates, with similar outbreaks linked to packing plants in the UK, Canada, Ireland Spain and Brazil.


Even as outdoor temperatures warm over the summer, the viral spread at these cold facilities may be a worrying harbinger of the virus's potential activity in the winter.


Just when Texas officials thought that its coronavirus crisis was controlled enough to reopen the economy there, a spike in cases was seen in Moore County.


Moore is home to JBS USA, one of the nation's largest meat processing plants.


A county of less than 22,000 people, there are 877 cases of coronavirus in Moore. Fourteen people have died.


About 3,000 people work at the JBS plant. As of a May 8 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 113 workers at two meatpacking plants in Texas had contracted coronavirus. 


According to the Washington Post, more than 100 people at a Colorado JBS plant have fallen ill and four have died, nearly 900 workers at a South Dakota Smithfield plant have contracted the virus, and one has died, and at least 186 Tyson Foods workers have coronavirus and to have died at an Iowa Tyson Foods plant.


In total, nearly 4,000 meat plant workers at 115 plants in 19 states across the US had been sickened as of the May CDC report.


There are several reasons for this, the CDC report suggests...