Amazon reports 20,000 workers have COVID-19
Amazon reported that close to 20,000 of its workers in the United States have contracted COVID-19 so far this year.
Jeffrey Dastin reported the news for Reuters:
Amazon.com Inc on Thursday said more than 19,000 of its U.S. frontline workers contracted the coronavirus this year, or 1.44% of the total, a disclosure sought by labor advocates who have criticized the COVID-19 response of the world’s largest online retailer.
Some staff, elected officials and unions in recent months have said Amazon put employees’ health at risk by keeping warehouses open during the pandemic. Amazon said its rate of infection was 42% lower than expected when considering the virus’ spread in the general population.
CNN’s Sara Ashley O’Brien wrote:
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.
Jay Peters from The Verge noted:
Amazon says it conducts thousands of COVID-19 tests per day, with a goal of doing 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November. The company also says it has distributed more than 100 million face masks, instituted temperature checks, and introduced “enhanced cleaning procedures” at its sites.
However, workers at a warehouse in Indianapolis, Indiana told The Verge that cleaning has been uneven and that the site has been too crowded for appropriate social distancing in May. And three warehouse workers sued the company in June, claiming that working conditions put them at risk of COVID-19 infection.