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Amazon says nearly 20,000 had COVID-19 this year

2020-10-02 12:03 by
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Amazon on Thursday released comprehensive data on the spread of the coronavirus among its employees, disclosing for the first time that more than 19,000 workers, or 1.44% of the total, contracted the virus this year.

The company said it has conducted an analysis of data on 1.3 million front-line employees who worked for Amazon and Whole Foods in the U.S. from March 1 to Sept. 19 and compared rates to the general population during that time. Amazon said that if the rate would have been the same among its employees as it is for the general population, it would have seen 33,952 cases among the workforce. Instead, its figure of 19,816 was 42% lower.

Lawmakers and labor groups have been asking Amazon for months to disclose stats on the spread of the virus among its employees following several concerning reports about unsafe working conditions. Following pressure from both the Senate and House of Representatives, the company finally implemented regular temperature checks and began offering workers basic PPE recommended by federal guidelines like face masks.

Amazon, which has a market value of $1.6tn 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.

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