Almost 20K Amazon Employees Test Positive For COVID19
The coronavirus epidemic continues to impact America on various levels seven months into the crisis. The latest statistics show that cases are still rising rapidly in many of the same states where Donald Trump held rallies, and Trump testing positive for COVID19 along with his wife and several White House staffers indicates the opposite of their message that the country has “rounded a corner” and is nearing the end.
The financial impact of the pandemic may never fully be known as restaurants that once reopened are now reclosing, companies are going out of business, the unemployment rate is still at a record high, and essential workers are still being forced to put themselves at considerable risk simply to earn enough money to survive. Now comes word that one of the planet’s largest companies has suffered a huge hit to its workforce.
Amazon.com, the online retail giant, is reporting that nearly 20,000 of their employees have tested positive for the coronavirus nationwide. The highest rate of infection among workers was in Minnesota, where 3.17% were presumed to have caught Covid-19, double the rate of infection in the broader population. There have also been at least eight confirmed Amazon worker deaths this year related to the coronavirus, but Amazon did not give an updated figure in its announcement on Thursday.
Amazon has built its own lab to develop coronavirus testing capacity, and released the information after months of public demand. Workers for the Jeff Bezos-owned company complained about conditions in several Amazon warehouses, saying safety measures were not being adhered to as closely as they should have been. Many reported working while feeling symptomatic out of fear of losing their jobs.
COVID-19 Testing Update: We’ve already launched and are ramping quickly, conducting thousands of tests a day and growing to 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November as part of our effort to keep our front-line employees safe. https://t.co/QMuJbRcfmM
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) October 1, 2020
The numbers account for the period between March 1 and Sept. 19; Amazon counted 19,816 presumed or confirmed cases across nearly 1.4 million Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line employees across the U.S. The total does not include Amazon’s network of third-party delivery drivers, estimated at roughly 85,000, which handles a portion of last-minute deliveries.
Amazon said the rate of infection among employees was 42% lower than expected, compared with the “general population rate” in the U.S. If Amazon’s infection rates were in line with the community, the total number of cases would have reached 33,952, the company said.