CDC Examines Effects of COVID-19 on Minorities in Meat and Poultry Processing
A report published in July by CDC documenting COVID-19 outbreaks among workers at meat and poultry processing facilities across the United States finds “a disproportionate burden of illness and death” among racial and ethnic minority workers infected by COVID-19. The report examines aggregate data on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths reported through May 31 from 239 affected facilities in 23 states. According to researchers, 16,233 workers contracted COVID-19 during April and May, including 86 workers who died from the disease. Among the 9,919 workers whose race or ethnicity was reported, approximately 56 percent were Hispanic, 19 percent were Black, 13 percent were white, and 12 percent were Asian. “Targeted workplace interventions and prevention efforts that are appropriately tailored to the groups most affected by COVID-19 are critical to reducing both COVID-19-associated occupational risk and health disparities among vulnerable populations,” the report states. “Implementation of these interventions and prevention efforts across meat and poultry processing facilities nationally could help protect workers in this critical infrastructure industry.” Researchers urge continued efforts to better understand the effects of the pandemic on the health of racial and ethnic minority workers.