Amazon said nearly 20,000 workers got coronavirus
Amazon said Thursday that 19,816 of its front-line US employees at Amazon and Whole Foods have tested positive
or been presumed positive for the coronavirus, shedding light for the first time on how its workforce has been impacted by Covid-19.
Amazon had repeatedly resisted sharing comprehensive data with the public
and with its own workers about the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases at its warehouses,
which have become crucial hubs for household supplies during the pandemic.
Despite numerous confirmed cases at Amazon warehouses across the country, and around the world,
the e-commerce giant has downplayed the significance of releasing site or aggregate data,
making it difficult to get a clear picture of overall infections at its sites.
In a blog post, the company said it did a
“thorough analysis of data on all 1,372,000 Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line employees across the US employed at any time from March 1 to September 19, 2020.”
A state-by-state breakdown of the cases showed that the highest rate of infection of Amazon employees was in Minnesota,
where 3.17% of Amazon workers were presumed to have caught Covid-19, double the rate of infection in the broader population.
However, the data did not give absolute numbers of infected workers in each state or whether workers in warehouses were more vulnerable.
Amazon, which has a market value of $1.6tn (£1.2tn) and whose largest shareholder is its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos,
the world’s richest person, said it was investing “hundreds of millions of dollars” in its own coronavirus testing programme.
It plans to conduct 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November.
Athena, a coalition of US activist groups campaigning for greater regulatory oversight over Amazon,
called for immediate investigations into the company by public health officials as well as regular reporting on the number of employees with Covid-19.
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