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Trump On Meatpacking Plant Covid Hotspots: 'It’s All Working Out'

Trump tells Fox's Martha MacCallum that things are "working out" for the people crammed like sardines in these meatpacking plant hotspots across the country during a so-called "townhall" this weekend.
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Across the United States, meatpacking plants have been some of the worst hotspots for the coronavirus, with "nearly 900 employees, or 40 percent of workers, at Tyson pork plant in Indiana" testing positive for the virus, "and over 370 workers at a pork plant in Missouri testing positive. Plants have been forced to shut down due to the number of workers that have contracted the virus, and according to recent reporting, at least 20 workers have died from coronavirus and another 6500 have fallen ill.

Which, in Trump-land, means things are going just swimmingly. During their so-called "townhall" on Fox this Sunday, Trump got a question from a restaurant manager about the shortage of supplies due to the plant closures, and how they're supposed to stay afloat given the slim profit margins they're operating on. Rather than actually address her concerns, Trump bragged about the executive order he signed the week before deeming the plants essential infrastructure that must stay open, but doing nothing to protect the health of the workers at those plants, claimed the supply chains were "going to be in great shape," and then started babbling about how many people stadiums will be able to hold and making false promises about when we'll get a vaccine.

Host Martha MacCallum brought him back to the issue of the meatpacking plants, and Trump proceeded to give the Fox audience a lot of happy talk about how great things are going for the workers there:

Martha MacCallum: I want to go back to the meat processing plants because there’s some controversy surrounding that. Danny Lemos who you saw before who had the Remdesivir, said it helped him survive. His father worked in one of those in Nebraska, in the meat plants. And some people there say that they have plastic between them but they’re too close together. A lot of immigrants working there who are concerned, but they can’t turn down a paycheck to go back there. The Smithfield plant in Crete wanted to shut down for two weeks and then the executive order changed that. So there’s some pushback on that decision by you. What do you say to those people?

Donald Trump: The companies really wanted it and the employees have to want to work. Now, if they don’t want to work, that’s one thing, but they are all working and they need the money. And the companies are doing, the great companies, these are the biggest companies in the world in terms of delivery and in terms of all of the things they do to get it from literally the ranch or the farm, into the hands of the consuming public.

But I think it’s all working out. The numbers are heading in the right direction. The biggest thing we can do to solve every problem is get rid of the plague. I call it the plague. If we get rid of the plague, all of these problems go away very quickly.

Martha MacCallum: Some of those meat processing areas are our hotspots right now.

Donald Trump: They are hotspots and they’re moving them and they did put up plastic, but now they’re going to move them in some cases further away. And certain plants don’t have any problem at all. You have plants with no problem at all. Then you have somewhere it was a hotspot. Those people are tending to get better very quickly, I think Danny is an example. I hope his father is going to be okay too, but it’s all working out. It’s all working out. It’s horrible that we have to go through it, but it’s all working.

Here's more from The New York Times' and the AP's fact-check on Trump' litany of lies during this special on Fox:

MEAT PLANTS

TRUMP, on his emergency order to reopen meat plants after many closed because workers were sickened by COVID-19. “I think it’s all working out. ... Those people are tending to get better quickly.” — Fox News, Sunday night.

THE FACTS: He offered no support for the contention that workforces at meat plants are rapidly returning to health.

In a report Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 4,900 workers at meat and poultry processing facilities have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, 20 of whom have died.

The illnesses occurred among 130,000 workers at 115 facilities in 19 states, according to the CDC. Some states didn’t provide data, so the actual count is believed to be higher.

The CDC said plant workers may be at risk for a number of reasons, such as difficulties with physical distancing and hygiene and crowded living and transportation conditions. The researchers suggested that disinfection be enhanced and that workers get regular screening for the virus, more space from co-workers and training materials in their native languages.

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