Amazon says more than 19,000 workers got Covid-19

Amazon says more than 19,000 workers got Covid-19

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.

Between March 1 and Sept. 19, Amazon counted 19,816 presumed or confirmed Covid-19 cases across its roughly 1.37 million Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line employees across the U.S. 

The information comes months after labor groups, politicians and regulators repeatedly pressed Amazon to disclose how many of its workers were infected by Covid-19. Early on in the pandemic, warehouse workers raised concerns that Amazon wasn’t doing enough to protect them from getting sick and called for facilities with confirmed cases to be shut down. Lacking data from Amazon, warehouse workers compiled a crowdsourced database of infections based on notifications of new cases at facilities across the U.S.

Amazon previously declined to share the data, saying it would be misleading and lacked context. In Thursday’s blog post, Amazon said the total number of infections would be “more powerful” if other companies released similar data. “Wide availability of data would allow us to benchmark our progress and share best practices across businesses and industries,” the company said.

There have been at least eight confirmed Amazon worker Covid-19 deaths this year, but Amazon did not give an updated figure in its announcement Thursday.

Walmart, the largest employer in the U.S., said in April that fewer than 1% of its roughly 1.5 million U.S. employees had gotten sick with the coronavirus. The company has not released a total number or an updated percentage. Walmart didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Amazon’s total does not include its network of third-party delivery drivers, which handle a portion of last-mile deliveries. It’s unclear how many contracted drivers make up Amazon’s third-party delivery network, but the company previously said it has added nearly 85,000 jobs across the U.S., Canada, UK, Spain, and Germany.

CNBC

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