Health officials visit the coronavirus hotspot at the Smithfield pork factory

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The biggest Coronavirus hotspot in the country is the Smithfield pork factory in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. On Thursday, doctors from the Centers for Disease Control visited the facility, where hundreds were infected with coronavirus.

The workers there tell CBS News that they feel pressured to stay at work – even after they get sick. In a single day, the number of infected employees increased by 80 to an incredible 598.

The plant is closed, but mechanic Tommy Daranikone was still asked to work as part of an important team.

“I had an employee who quit because he was afraid,” the Daran icon told CBS News.

80 languages ​​are spoken in the factory by 4,000 employees, most of whom are immigrants.

Smithfield’s pork processing facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is scheduled to open on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

Stephen Groves / AP


Some attribute the company the ability to send their children to college like a 20-year-old. Her father, who did not want to be interviewed, is symptomatic.

“We only assume that we have been carrying the virus at least since he started working there and has been active in the entire facility for a week and a half,” she said.

The workers had raised the alarm for six weeks, said Kooper Caraway of the AFL-CIO, who oversees their union.

“They asked for some safety precautions … protective equipment, temperature tests … and only after several dozen workers had tested positive did the management decide to implement these things. By then it was too late,” said Kümmel.

Meat factories across the country are closed due to COVID 19 outbreaks.

CBS News received a video from a JBS meat factory in Grand Marshall, Nebraska, showing employees shoulder to shoulder at the end of last month.

And in Iowa, there were at least 86 positive cases that were linked to a Tyson meat factory.

Smithfield’s CEO said in a statement on Wednesday that “we are doing everything we can to protect our team members from COVID-19,” including the provision of protective equipment.

But it’s too late for the family of a Smithfield employee, Augustin Rodriguez, who died of the virus this week.