Dozens of U.S. meat-processing plants have been forced to close temporarily as the industry struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus among employees who often stand side-by-side while cutting and packaging beef, pork and poultryBy JOSH FUNK Associated PressApril 23, 2020, 4:41 PM5 min readOMAHA, Neb. — Daily reports of giant meat-processing plants closing because workers tested positive for the coronavirus have called into question whether slaughterhouses can remain virus-free. According to experts, the answer may be no. Given that the plants employ thousands of people who often work side by side carving meat, social distancing is all but impossible. Because of that, the risk of catching the virus will likely remain even as companies take steps to increase worker protections. “It’s not that people aren’t trying. It’s just that it is very difficult to control this illness,” said Dennis Burson, an animal science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The list of companies dealing with infected workers has been growing every day at plants across the country. Among the latest was the closure Wednesday of Tyson Foods’ huge pork-processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, after numerous workers tested positive. That follows closures of a Smithfield Foods pork plant in


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