COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS): RESOURCES FROM THE NATIONAL CHICKEN COUNCIL

This COVID-19 (coronavirus) resources page from the National Chicken Council provides business and government information, top-tier media coverage, and answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19, as it pertains to the food and poultry industry. The information featured is for general consumers, as well as National Chicken Council members and food industry personnel. This page will be updated on an ongoing basis.

For the most recent CDC updates, please visit the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions. For FDA updates, please visit the Coronavirus Disease 2019 page. For information from USDA, please visit the USDA Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) page.

The Latest COVID-19 Updates & Resources

NEW BUSINESS RESOURCES

NEW GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

Daily COVID-19 Issues Tracker & Top Tier Coverage

Monday, March 30, 2020

Notable Updates

U.S. News

  • According to national COVID-19 trackers, there are currently over 143,532 cases of coronavirus confirmed by lab tests in all 50 states with over 2,572 deaths reported. Notable new cases include:
    • New York City has reported its first death of a child to COVID-19, one of 14 new fatalities overnight that brought its grim toll to 790 by Monday morning,
  • According to the White House task force briefing Sunday evening:
    • The FDA authorized a new test developed by Abbott Labs that delivers lightning-fast results in as little as five minutes
    • Abbott has stated that they will begin delivering 50,000 tests each day, starting this week.
    • Hydroxychloroquine is being administered to 1,100 patients — people in New York — along with the Z-Pak, which is azithromycin
    • The FDA is also allowing the emergency use of a blood-related therapy called convalescent plasma as an experimental treatment for seriously ill patients.
    • Due to Project Airbridge, a flight arrived at JFK Airport, New York, this morning, filled with 80 tons of personal protective equipment, including 130,000 N95 respirators — those are the ones that we were talking about before — 1.8 million face masks and gowns, 10.3 million gloves, and many other things
      • FEMA has scheduled 19 additional flights and is adding more daily.  We hope to have about 50 flights.
    • Humana and Cigna, are announcing that they will waive co-pays
    • President Trump is going to tell Secretary Mnuchin and also our great Secretary of Labor, to immediately start looking into the restoring of the deductibility of meals and entertainment costs for corporations that set the restaurant business back a lot when it was done originally, and then done not so long ago.
    • The US will be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread
    • President Trump believes the economy will recover by June 1 
  • New states with restrictions to “non-essential” business or implementing “shelter-in-place” policies are: Maryland
  • Notable new companies announcing layoffs/furloughs in the U.S. are: Macy’s, Seaworld, 20th Century Fox, Build-a-Bear and Cheesecake Factory. 
  • Notable new companies that have stopped or are modifying production in the U.S. are: Hyundai and See’s Candies 
  • President Trump announced on Sunday evening an extension on federal social distancing guidelines throughout the month of April. 
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Sunday issued an emergency-use authorization for a pair of anti-malaria drugs as health officials work to combat the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • The Seattle area, home of the first known coronavirus case in the United States and the place where the virus claimed 37 of its first 50 victims, is now seeing evidence that strict containment strategies, imposed in the earliest days of the outbreak, are beginning to pay off — at least for now.
  • A commercial aircraft carrying 80 tons of gloves, masks, gowns and other medical supplies from Shanghai touched down in New York on Sunday, the first of 22 scheduled flights that White House officials say will funnel much-needed goods to the United States by early April as it battles the world’s largest coronavirus outbreak.
  • The city of Detroit is gearing up to become a coronavirus epicenter. 
  • Two major U.S. health insurers, Cigna and Humana, are waiving all out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatments nationwide.
  • Amazon workers are reportedly planning to walk out of a New York warehouse on Monday over the company’s decision to keep the facility open despite an employee alleging as many as five to seven workers there have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

 

International News

 

Business 

 

Food

 

Health 

 

International

 

Travel 

 

Sports 

 

Politics 

 

GENERAL INFORMATION:

Key Dates (March 2020):

  • 3/1/20: U.S. reports first two deaths
  • 3/2/20: Number of cases reported in Italy spikes by nearly 50%; the E.U. raised its risk level to “high”
  • 3/6/20: Number of cases surpassed 100,000 globally
  • 3/9/20: Global stock markets plunged and oil prices dropped amid global anxiety
  • 3/10/20: Number of known coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 1,000
  • 3/10/20: Deadliest single day toll to date
  • 3/11/20: WHO declares a pandemic; U.S. bans travel from Europe, excluding the U.K.
  • 3/13/20: Trump declares a national emergency
  • 3/14/20: U.S. extends travel ban to include Britain, Ireland 
  • 3/18/20: The EU announced it will seal its borders; the U.S. and Canada will close its border to “non-essential” traffic

 

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Questions & Answers on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Is meat and poultry inspection being affected by COVID-19?

USDA released a statement about Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS); highlights from the department include:

  • Meat, poultry, and processed egg inspection services continue as normal.
  • Planning for absenteeism is a part of normal FSIS operations and as such, FSIS is closely monitoring and tracking employee absenteeism to plan for and minimize impacts to operations.
  • FSIS is also working to prioritize inspection at establishments based on local conditions and resources available.
  • Yesterday, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Mindy Brashears issued a letter to stakeholders reassuring them that FSIS and AMS are rising to meet the challenges associated with COVID-19

Will there be food shortages?

There are no nationwide shortages of food, although in some cases the inventory of certain foods at your grocery store might be temporarily low before stores can restock. Food production and manufacturing are widely dispersed throughout the U.S. and there are currently no wide-spread disruptions reported in the supply chain.

Is COVID-19 transmitted by food products? Is COVID-19 a foodborne pathogen?

The CDC says “currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.” USDA reports “There is no evidence at this time to suggest that the Coronavirus is a foodborne pathogen.” According to a statement from the FDA, “We are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.”

However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods.

For background and the most up-to-date information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Disease website: here.

Can I get sick with COVID-19 from touching food, the food packaging, or food contact surfaces, if the coronavirus was present on it?

Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects. For that reason, it is critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill.

Can I get COVID-19 from a food worker handling my food?

Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. However, the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person in some communities in the U.S. The CDC recommends that if you are sick, stay home until you are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

Should food workers who are ill stay home?

CDC recommends that employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick. We recommend that businesses review CDC’s interim guidance for businesses and employers for planning and responding to coronavirus disease. Also see the FDA’s Retail Food Protection: Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Handbook.

Should food facilities (grocery stores, manufacturing facilities, restaurants, etc.) perform any special cleaning or sanitation procedures for COVID-19?

CDC recommends routine cleaning of all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. CDC does not recommend any additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning at this time.

  • View the EPA-registered disinfectant products on the Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 list that have qualified under EPA’s emerging viral pathogen program for use against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
  • Restaurants and retail food establishments are regulated at the state and local level. State, local, and tribal regulators use the Food Code published by the FDA to develop or update their own food safety rules. Generally, FDA-regulated food manufacturers are required to maintain clean facilities, including, as appropriate, clean and sanitized food contact surfaces, and to have food safety plans in place. Food safety plans include a hazards analysis and risk-based preventive controls and include procedures for maintaining clean and sanitized facilities and food contact surfaces. See: FSMA Final Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food.

Since restaurant workers and other service industry employees have ongoing contact with the public, are there any special precautions these workers should take to avoid becoming sick with a respiratory illness, such as wearing masks?

CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

    • CDC recommends everyday preventive actions for everyone, including service industry workers and customers:
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
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