“It incenses me,” Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson told Rachel Maddow Wednesday night on MSNBC.
He blasted a full-page ad that Tyson took out in The New York Times (and The Washington Post and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) on Monday that bemoaned the effect of COVID-19 on the meat business and warned that the “food supply chain is breaking.”
“We know” that the Iowa coronavirus outbreak and threats to the food supply chain are “due to these inept, reactionary and dysfunctional responses” to what was happening in the Waterloo plant, which employs 2,800 workers, Thompson told Maddow.
“It’s frustrating that my citizens ... are more at risk than any other county in the state,” he told Maddow.
As of Wednesday, Tyson workers were linked to about 90% of the 1,327 COVID-19 cases in Black Hawk County, which has the highest number of coronavirus in the state, USA Today reported.
Additionally, about 900 of the 2,200 employees at a Tyson pork processing plant in Logansport, Indiana, have also tested positive for the coronavirus, WISH-TV in Indianapolis reported Wednesday. Again, that’s the lion’s share of the 1,200 cases in Cass County, where the plant is located.
Tyson has closed both the Waterloo and Logansport plants and is working with county health officials to improve safety.
Despite the infection rates, Republicans in Washington are pushing to indemnify businesses to protect them from lawsuits from infected workers. At the same time, frightened workers who refuse to return to work because they fear for their lives face not qualifying for unemployment benefits.
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