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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Criticism of Iowa Department of Health Over COVID-19 Transparency


On May 5th the Iowa Department of Health announced that 221 employees out of approximately 1,300 workers employed at the Tyson Foods, Columbus Junction, IA. plant had tested positive for COVID-19.  This figure was less than the nunber conveyed by Tyson Foods to the Department previous to the press conference. The Company declared that in fact 522 employees, or 40 percent of the workforce had tested positive with 12 hospitalizations and two fatalaties. 


According to the Des Moines Register there is evidence that the Department of Health was under political pressure to downplay the severity of COVID-19.  The Department has also been criticized by the media for demanding high fees for open-records requests and obscuring data relating to plants.  According to the Des Moines Register, on July 22nd a spokesperson for the Department was terminated for delays in responding to requests and ineffective performance.

If the U.S. is to effectively address the COVID pandemic there must be complete transparency concerning statistics, sharing of information of epidemiological significance and above all a    de-politicization of the infection. This will allow public health authorities to assess the circumstances relating to incidence and causation and to make balanced best-judgement recommendations to authorities responsible for controlling the infection.


Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane