Coronavirus at meat packing plants worse than first thought, USA TODAY investigation finds

A rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meat packing plants across the nation is far more extensive than previously thought, according to an exclusive review of cases by USA TODAY and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

And it could get worse. More than 150 of America’s largest meat processing plants operate in counties where the rate of coronavirus infection is already among the nation’s highest, based on the media outlets’ analysis of slaughterhouse locations and county-level COVID-19 infection rates.

Reporter’s Diary: 40% of farmers “very worried” Covid-19 will effect their income, survey says

About three-quarters of farmers surveyed said they were worried about the coronavirus's impact on their incomes this year, according to a research from Perdue University's Center for Commercial Agriculture published this week. In the survey, 34 percent said they were "fairly worried" and 40 percent said they were "very worried." "The percentage of farmers expecting good times in agriculture in the upcoming 12 months fell from 50 percent in February to just 19 percent in March," according to the center's news release. With decreased demand, dairy farmers have been dumping milk and vegetables have been rotting in the fields, according to the Guardian.

Coronavirus: Investigate Midwest Reporter Diary

First reported in December, there are now just over 297,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, worldwide as of midday Saturday — including more than 22,177 cases in the U.S., according to data collected by John Hopkins University. The Midwest Center is reporting on the pandemic's impact in rural areas and in farm country.