Denver Meatpacking Plant Closes After Second Death

The latest in COVID-19

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Denver Meatpacking Plant Closes After Second Death

Quick Take

  • Federal projections show a spike in mid-summer if current stay at home orders are lifted.
  • Spain allows factory and construction workers to go back to work.
  • A JBS meatpacking plant in Colorado has shut down after a second worker died.
  • France reports dozens of heart incidents linked to hydroxychloroquine.

There are now more than 1.7 million global confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 100k fatalities. Yesterday, the U.S. reported its highest daily death toll with over 2,000 deaths. The United States is now the world’s hardest-hit country with nearly 20,000 fatalities and over half a million confirmed cases.

Projections Show Spike If Shelter Orders Are Lifted

New models from Homeland Security and Health and Human Services project a spike in infections in mid-summer if stay at home orders are lifted. Even with schools closed until summer and 25 percent of the country’s workforce teleworking, the death total is estimated to reach 200,000 in the country.

If stay-at-home policies are not extended, the model foresees increased demand for ventilators and a major spike in infections with a new peak 150 days after the initial order. For most states that implemented stay-at-home orders in late March, including New York City, Massachusetts, California, and Illinois, that spike would come in mid to late summer. In response, Los Angeles is one of the latest cities to extend its stay-at-home order until at least May 15th.

President Trump has long teased the idea of reopening the country to boost the economy. When asked about relaxing federal social distancing guidelines, Trump said it will be “the biggest decision” he’ll ever make. Trump said he would listen to the advice of the medical experts before acting, but also said that he would convene a new task force with business leaders next week.

Dr. Anthony Fauci also commented on the issue saying there’s no doubt that we’re going to see cases with any lifting of restrictions, the question is how to respond, identity, isolate, and trace them.

Denver Meatpacking Plant Closes After Second Death

A JBS meatpacking plant in Colorado has shut down after a second worker at the facility died from coronavirus. 14 other employees have been hospitalized and at least 200 of the company’s 3,000 employees have been impacted. Vice President Mike Pence said he is working with senator Gardner to ensure that testing resources are sent to the region.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he spoke with VP Pense about helping farmers and ranchers operate with additional safety and support. JBS USA operates 65 facilities in the United States. The company recently shut down a processing plant in Pennsylvania after several employees had flu-like symptoms.

Apple And Google To Implement Contact Tracing

Apple and Google have announced that they are building software that would tell people if they were recently in contact with someone who has been infected. The software will be implemented into billions of iOS and Android devices within several months.

The new feature would enable contact tracing by having smartphones constantly log other devices that come into the user’s proximity. People would opt-in to use the tool and voluntarily report if they became infected. The app would then alert phones that had recently come into proximity with that person’s device. Google and Apple said that user privacy would be protected by requiring users to opt into the feature.

Heart Incidents With Hydroxychloroquine

France has reported dozens of heart incidents linked to hydroxychloroquine, a drug that President Trump has long promoted as a possible treatment for coronavirus.  A report from France’s drug safety agency showed 43 cases of heart incidents linked to the anti-malaria drug, underscoring the risk of providing unproven treatments to COVID-19 patients.

The initial assessment shows that the risks, in particular cardiovascular, associated with hydroxychloroquine treatments are very present and potentially increased in COVID-19 patients. The agency says the drugs should only be used in hospitals, under close medical supervision. Dr. Anthony Fauci has urged on the side of caution when using the drug, saying we still need to do the kinds of studies that definitely prove whether any intervention is truly safe and effective.

Spain Eases Lockdown Measures

Spain, the only European country hit harder than Italy, is preparing to ease restrictions as the number of deaths fall, allowing some nonessential employees to return to work on Monday. The easing of workplace rules during the nationwide lockdown comes as Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has outlined plans to extend the state of emergency past the current April 26th deadline.

The switch comes as Spain has reported a falling death rate and a daily growth in new cases of about 3 percent, compared with 20 percent in mid-March. As of this weekend, factories and construction sites can recall workers after the Easter holiday. Trains and other public transport will slowly start increasing operations.