(CNN)Coronavirus came for Americans' hamburgers in early May.
On May 5, the fast-food chain Wendy's announced that some menu items were unavailable; an analyst estimated that nearly one in five Wendy's franchises was out of beef.
That followed news that some meat processing plants across the US had temporarily closed due to coronavirus.
That's because meatpacking and food-processing workers are getting sick and some are dying from Covid-19.
Some 20 meatpacking and food-processing workers have died from Covid-19, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
As a result of the pandemic, 22 meatpacking plants have closed in the last two months. With plants closed, and livestock accumulating, some farmers are desperate enough to put their animals on Craigslist.
Closures have reduced pork slaughter capacity by 25% and beef slaughter capacity by 10%, according to UFCW. Some supermarkets, including Costco and Kroger, are limiting the amount of meat consumers can buy.
Prices are going up, too. But despite the grim news, the potential for reduced meat consumption as the result of shortages could have a silver lining for Americans' health.
The health benefits of eating less red meat
Americans eat a lot of meat. The average adult ate between three and four servings a week from 2015 to 2016, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
That's not too far off the maximum of three servings a week recommended by the World Cancer Research Fund International/American Institute for Cancer Research in a 2018 report. But at least a third of American adults eat at least one serving of red meat each day, far exceeding the limit.
Reducing intake of beef and pork is good for you, said Lilian Cheung, director of health promotion and communication at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's department of nutrition.