The U.S. death toll was nearing 31,000 early Thursday, with more than 4,500 reported deaths over the past 24 hours, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Worldwide, the number of confirmed cases has surpassed 2 million — including nearly 640,000 in the U.S. — with over 137,100 deaths.
– A team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday will tour the Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which has become the biggest single source of coronavirus cases in the U.S.
Eighty of South Dakota’s 180 newest COVID-19 cases are employees of the meat-processing company, bringing the total to 518 Smithfield Foods employees who have tested positive. There are also 126 cases of non-employees who became infected after coming into contact with a Smithfield employee, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.
The CDC team will create a checklist of items to complete before the plant can reopen, Gov. Kristi Noem said Wednesday. Noem said she’s working with federal officials and Smithfield leaders to get the plant back online to provide relief for pork producers and the food chain.