Amazon.com on Thursday gave a statement saying more than 19000 of its US frontline workers contracted the coronavirus this year. Some staff, elected officials and unions in recent months have said amazon put employee’s health at risk by keeping warehouses open during the pandemic. The company said its rate of infection was 42 percent lower than expected when considering the virus spread in the general population.
Amazon encouraged other businesses to report comparable figures through a blog post. It said it will expand virus testing to 50000 US employees per day by November through internally built capacity.
The disclosure by amazon offers a rare look at the disease’s impact on a big US employer. Amazon has kept facilities open to meet a surge in demand from shoppers stuck at home, adding temperature checks, social distancing software and other safety procedures.
A labour and activist coalition, called on officials to investigate amazon, Dania Rajendra said in a statement that Amazon allowed COVID-19 to spread like a wildfire. The company said out of its 1,372000 frontline employees at amazon and its whole foods market subsidiary 19,816 tested positive or were presumed to have COVID-19 between 1st march and sept 19. The figure includes all kind of staff seasonal staff and who may have been infected outside work.
Minnesota had the highest rate with nearly 32 infections per 1000 workers versus nearly 16 for the public. Amazon has butted heads with a labour group there, it did not have comments on the specific rates.
This information would be more powerful if there were similar data from other major employers to compare it to, amazon mentioned in a blog post that it hopes the numbers will prove useful as states make decisions about reopening public facilities and employers consider whether and how to bring people back to work.