- 87% of COVID-19 cases in the meatpacking industry occured among workers who are racial and ethnic minorities, according to CDC analysis of cases in April and May.
- While 39% of meat-processing workers are white, they made up only 13% of confirmed cases.
- There have been at least 32,630 cases of COVID-19 among meat processing workers, according to the Food and Environment Reporting Network. 123 workers have died.
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COVID-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants disproportionately impacted racial and ethnic minorities, according to new data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
There were 16,233 confirmed COVID-19 cases among workers at meat processing facilities in 23 states through the end of May, the CDC said on Monday. Of these workers, 86 had died.
Racial and ethnic minorities were disproportionately impacted, according to analysis of the 21 states that reported race and ethnicity for the same time period. 87% of cases in the meatpacking industry occured among workers who are racial and ethnic minorities – 56% Hispanic, 19% Black, and 12% Asian.
Just 13% of confirmed COVID-19 cases among meat processing workers were white workers. For comparison, roughly 39% of all meat processing workers in the 21 states analysed were white. 30% were Hispanic, 25% were Black, and 6% were Asian. The CDC data indicates that Hispanic and Asian people in particularly were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
The meat processing industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. While the CDC only analysed cases through the end of May, as of Monday there are at least 32,630 cases of COVID-19 among meat processing workers, according to the Food and Environment Reporting Network. At least 123 workers have died.
The pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of colour in the US. The CDC recently reported that American Indian and Black people have a COVID-19 hospitalisation rate five times that of white people. Hispanic or Latino people have a hospitalisation rate roughly four times that of white people.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Business Insider in a recent interview that these higher rates of hospitalisation can be partially attributed to factors such as these groups being more likely to have lower incomes, live in multi-generational households, and work jobs that require them to physically go into work.
“But there are also factors that we don’t measure, and those include things like structural racism,” Adams said. “We have to acknowledge that these things are occurring and that they are occurring to people in many cases because of the colour of their skin.”