Meat plant closes due to the number of covid-19 infections 0:49
(CNN) – The meat supply is at risk. Farm workers are afraid. Food is difficult to obtain.
Health professionals, doctors, nurses, and everyone on the front lines are the obvious and legitimate heroes of the pandemic, but if this dark episode has taught us anything about the way we live today, it could be that our society is lying on the backs of many people who just can’t stay home and relax while the coronavirus it spreads.
Food workers are also front-line workers. You’ve probably recently seen the headline that one of the largest pig processing plants in the country had stopped producing for the foreseeable future. The reason? Employees at the plant, a Smithfield operation, account for about half of the coronavirus cases in South Dakota.
LOOK: Meat processor in South Dakota closes due to high number of covid-19 infections, is shortage expected?
Similar closings have affected plants in Pennsylvania and Iowa, and the Smithfield chief executive said the country’s beef supply is at risk.
Is Scarcity Nearing? Yes, if we panic: We have already seen a shortage of toilet paper and cleaning products. Will people rack up bacon in their freezers if they fear a shortage of pork? Please no. U.S it is not running out of meat. Not that there is no meat. It is that, at this moment, there are gaps in the way we process it and take it to consumers.
Americans are told to visit supermarkets only when they must. Supermarket workers don’t have that luxury.
Food, food everywhere, but not a bite to eat: Keeping the supply chain running while keeping farmworkers and meat cutters healthy, along with packers and truck drivers and warehouse workers and warehousemen and cashiers, is a priority.
Another problem is finding ways to bring food to consumers, now that restaurants, office canteens, school cafeterias, and so many other places where people used to eat are closed. The current situation is as follows: Farmers are throwing away food, including milk, even as people grow increasingly desperate and the lines grow at food banks.
LOOK: Coronavirus: the hunger of some worsens while others throw away thousands of liters of milk that they cannot sell
“It’s a series of cascading events that are disrupting the entire food chain,” said Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor who served as secretary of agriculture during the Obama administration, in an interview with CNN on Monday. “You start to finish school lunch programs, universities close, food service closes, tourism and hotels are low occupancy and at the end of the day you have to redirect a large amount of the total food supply.”
He said the government will need to spend money to buy food from producers and give it to food banks.
Farm workers are afraid: CNN’s Catherine Shoichet wrote an article about farmworkers, whose unions have warned of safety conditions for workers who collect our produce.
That assuming that there are workers to collect the product. They are likely to be people who already work for fear of deportation. Now they are working for fear of infection. Shoichet writes that fewer people report to work, fearing for their safety. Here is the story in English.
It’s not just the United States: The UN warned this month that the outbreak response threatens the world’s food supply.
CNN’s Jessie Yeung summed up the report: “Border closings, movement restrictions and disruptions in the shipping and aviation industries have made it difficult to continue food production and the transport of goods internationally, putting countries with few alternative sources of food at high risk. “
He also noted that large corporations like Nestlé and Unilever have warned of a food crisis, noting that the food supply chain is international. The United States depends on other countries for its food supply. Other countries, in turn, depend on the United States. Here there is data on agricultural imports and exports from the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
LOOK: Tension in global supply chains as coronavirus restrictions tighten
One more thing: Remember that when President Trump launched his trade war against China, it was American farmers who were most affected by Chinese retaliation and who needed two bailouts from the US government. USA They were still seeing an increase in bankruptcies even before the coronavirus hit the United States. Will they need a third rescue? Perhaps.
Food uncertainty versus food insecurity
In my house, we are making a great effort not to go to the supermarket. But it’s difficult.
We join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group that delivers local produce. And we’ve received a few shipments from a local wholesaler who generally supplies restaurants and is now doing sidewalk pickups in the Washington, DC area.
We have ordered peanut butter from Target. (Try order peanut butter on Amazon. Currently not available.)
It is equally difficult to schedule a delivery service. And those that exist cannot come close to the demand. Try to get a delivery from Amazon Fresh or Instacart. (Well, don’t really try. Amazon said Monday they are putting new customers on waiting lists.)
Those are luxuries that may not be available to everyone. But with the demand, it seems that they are not available to anyone. And still, people behave amazingly.
And that brings us to the uncomfortable truth that the coronavirus has revealed more clearly than ever: that the difficulties are felt disproportionately in this country. What I described earlier is food uncertainty, and it is a new experience for many.
LISTENS: The effects of the coronavirus in agriculture: uncertainty and millionaire losses
But what millions of Americans are experiencing more acutely than ever right now is food insecurity, thanks to the sudden rise in unemployment and the closure of vast sectors of the United States economy. That includes millions of needy families with children who are still waiting to see the food subsidies that were approved by Congress weeks ago.
This is why there is so much talk about reopening the American economy.
Experts will save Trump if he leaves them
Trump spent months – years! – publicly humiliating Jerome Powell, the former investment banker he himself appointed as chairman of the Federal Reserve (FED) in 2017. Presidents typically try to keep their hands off the Fed’s decisions about interest rates, but Trump felt free to criticize Powell for a 2018 decision to raise interest rates, specifically to give the economy a cushion in the event of a disaster.
Now, however, CNN’s Phil Mattingly reports that Powell is the one taking extreme measures to help save as much of the U.S. economy as he can, or at least to avoid a full repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.
That brings us to Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has become the last voice of the figure of reason loved and who worries the public. That has predictably led to a growing and concerted effort by Trump and his allies to undermine him. This is the most predictable thing in the world: A member of the Trump administration cannot speak the truth for so long without colliding with Trump loyalists, and more evidence of the toxic swamp of revisionism that surrounds this White House.
LOOK: Covid-19 in the US: tension between Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci
East coast vs. West Coast
New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is having a moment as a steel leader as his state grapples with the worst of the coronavirus outbreak. See the cover page Rolling Stone, for example.
But there are many reasons to argue that its west coast counterparts, which acted before and whose states are not suffering as much as New York, should receive more attention. Today, groups of governors on both coasts formed regional pacts to evaluate the reopening of their economies.
Jonathan Martin and Adam Nagourney of The New York Times They wrote a very clever story about the East / West divide in terms of national attention. Includes, for some reason, a quote from Bill Walton.