USA TODAY NETWORK Launches Series Focused on Workers Feeding America During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Series about America’s food chain tells the stories of the people who are keeping America fed amid the coronavirus outbreak

USA TODAY NETWORK Launches Series Focused on Workers Feeding America During the COVID-19 Pandemic

USA TODAY NETWORK today launched a series about America’s food chain to tell the stories of the people who are working to keep America fed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through a series of intimate portraits, Gannett journalists will shine a light on the lives and work of the people who pick the oranges, slaughter the pigs, truck the goods and cook the food, so our nation can continue to eat amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The first story published in the series is about a worker at a large meat processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota – the state’s largest city with a population of 180,000 where Gannett’s Argus Leader newsroom is located. The in-depth piece spotlights John Deranamie, who came to the United States from Liberia during the civil war, has worked at the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls for over eight years and contracted COVID-19 as part of his job.

John Deranamie, a Smithfield Foods employee, poses for a portrait on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at his home in Sioux Falls, S.D. Deranamie tested positive for COVID-19 and has been spending time at home with family since the meatpacking plant shut down.

Over 40 Gannett journalists from more than 10 newsrooms across the country are contributing to this series led by USA TODAY consumer editor Michelle Maltais and Des Moines Register politics editor Rachel Stassen-Berger. New stories in the series will continue to roll out over the coming weeks.

“Food workers have faced great risks to keep America fed, and we wanted to focus a spotlight on some of the people in the food chain,’’ said Jeff Taylor, USA TODAY’s executive editor for news. “The collaboration for this series represents the strength and reach of our national news network.’’


News Related


Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »