Feds send force to ‘attack’ virus outbreak in our former city of residence

I want to feel comforted by this news, but given the dismal performance so far by our federal government in response to the coronavirus pandemic, well … let’s just say it doesn’t settle my nerves.

Federal health officials are being dispatched to Amarillo to “attack” a huge spike in COVID-19 infection at a Moore County meatpacking plant. Potter County, which comprises roughly half of Amarillo’s land area, is registering an infection rate that is significantly greater than the rates in Dallas or Harris County.

My wife and I lived in Amarillo for the 23 years. We have plenty of friends there. More importantly, though, our older son still lives there. He remains healthy. He has a public service job, but his employer is restricting heavily his contact with the clientele he serves and for that we are grateful beyond all measure.

At issue is the huge spike in infection at the JBS Beef meatpacking plant in Moore County, which has an viral infection that dwarfs the rate in Potter County.

According to the Texas Tribune: Meat and poultry plants nationwide have emerged as incubators for coronavirus spread. More than a dozen have been forced to shutdown temporarily as the number of cases and deaths tied to those facilities rose; others have scrambled to ramp up health and safety precautions in facilities where meatpackers often must work shoulder to shoulder.

The report I have seen doesn’t specify how officials will “attack” the outbreak. I just remain skeptical that anything associated — at this moment — with the federal government is guaranteed to produce success.

I want desperately to be proven wrong.

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