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Amazon on Thursday said that slightly more than 19,800 of its employees have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of March.
Data on the e-commerce giant’s 1.37 million frontline workers, including those at its Whole Foods Market grocery stores in the United States, showed a lower infection rate than expected, Amazon said. The release of the figure comes as some workers in logistics centers have criticized the company’s safeguards to protect them from the pandemic as well as its reluctance to share information about colleagues who get infected. Amazon has ramped up testing to 50,000 a day across 650 sites, according to the Seattle-based company. “Since the beginning of this crisis, we’ve worked hard to keep our employees informed, notifying them of every new case in their building,” Amazon said in a blog post sharing Covid-19 infection rates among its frontline workers.
If the rate of infection among Amazon and Whole Foods workers were the same as the general US population, the number of cases would have topped 33,000, according to the company. Amazon workers have been asking for Covid-19 infection rates at company facilities since early in the pandemic, according to labor and migrant activist coalition Athena. “Now we know why the corporation refused,” said Athena director Dania Rajendra. “Amazon allowed Covid-19 to spread like wildfire in its facilities.”
Rajendra called for an investigation into Covid-19 spread at Amazon workplaces by public health officials. “Amazon is, in no uncertain terms, a threat to public health,” Rajendra said.