Meat and Poultry Workers’ COVID-19 Rates Drop Sharply

New data shows the sector’s workers are far less likely to contract the disease than members of the general public.

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In January 2021, meat and poultry workers had an average of 32.64 new reported cases per 100,000 workers per day, according to data from the Food and Environment Reporting Network. That figure is two-thirds less than the average of 98.39 new reported cases per 100,000 of the sector’s workers per day in May 2020.

In comparison, the average new case rate for the U.S. general population was reported to be 78.59 cases per 100,000 people per day in January, more than twice the rate of meat and poultry workers.

Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts states, “Meat and poultry workers are substantially less likely to be infected with COVID-19 than the general population as a result of the comprehensive protections instituted since the spring of 2020, when the pandemic’s impact on our sector peaked.” She also credits the prioritization of meat and poultry workers for COVID-19 vaccination and their employers’ efforts to facilitate access to the vaccines as additional reasons for the drop in COVID-19 rates.


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