Possible Meat Shortages Due to Plant Closures

Possible Meat Shortages Due to Plant Closures

Three of the United State’s largest pork processing plants, namely Tyson Foods, Smithfield, and JBS, were closed because employees their tested positive for the coronavirus.

The plant closures reduce the production of meat by 25% and may result in meat shortages in grocery stores.  In addition, farmers are impacted as they cannot sell their livestock to be processed, leading to a serious food waste issue that exacerbates disruptions to the meat supply chain.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the Eco Watch article, Tyson Foods Warns of Meat Shortage Following Coronavirus Slaughterhouse Closures, by Olivia Rosane, April 28, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Video Spotlight. Image source: John A. Rizzo/Digital Vision/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect the meat supply chain?

Guidance: The pandemic affects  the downstream and upstream meat supply chain.  The production of meat is reduced by 25% because meat processing plants are closed as workers are sickened with the coronavirus.  Continue reading

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Could Coronavirus Deal a Fatal Blow to the U.S. Postal Service?

Could Coronavirus Deal a Fatal Blow to the U.S. Postal Service?

The U.S. Postal Service’s financial health may be too fragile to fight the coronavirus.

The volume of first-class mail, the agency’s main source of revenue, has been declining for years, and the coronavirus has accelerated the downward trend. At a time when people are increasingly ordering online, one might think that the surge in package deliveries would offset these losses. Unfortunately, debt obligations tied to pre-funding retiree benefits 75 years into the future have made it impossible for the USPS to remain solvent. Should it get bailed out like so many other organizations?


Video Spotlight: COVID-19 and the USPS


This post is based on the NBCNews article, Could Coronavirus Deal a Fatal Blow to the U.S. Postal Service?, by A. García-Hodges and H. Talbot, April 15, 2020, and the YouTube video, The Impact COVID-19 Is Having on the US Postal Service, by WGN News, April 16, 2020. Image source: BassittART/E+/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Besides the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, what are the reasons why the USPS experiences chronic, financial problems?

Guidance: The reasons include: decreasing volumes of first-class mail due to the rise of email; universal service to all urban and rural Continue reading

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India’s Short-Lived Ban on Exports of Coronavirus Drug

India’s Short-Lived Ban on Exports of Coronavirus Drug

April 29, 2020

As demand for potential coronavirus drugs surges during this pandemic, several countries have banned the export of these drugs.  As many drugs and/or their key ingredients are made in a handful of countries, export bans create tremendous problem and potential shortages.

India announced a partial ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine in late March. Following a threatened retaliation from President Trump, the ban was at least partially lifted.

Several researchers are studying the affect of this drug in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin.  One small-sample study in France showed promising, but not definitive results.  In addition to potential for treating coronavirus, hydroxychloroquine has been used in the prevention and treatment of malaria for many years.


Video Spotlight: Increase in demand for drugs to treat coronavirus leads to shortages (Mar 23, 2020, CBS Evening News)


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Global Rush for Trump-Backed Virus Drug Sparks India Export Ban, by Bloomberg News, March 24, 2020; the Japan Times article, After Trump threat, India lifts export ban on COVID-19 treatment drug, by Bloomberg, April 7, 2020; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: aberration/123RF

Discussion Questions: Continue reading

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