Technology

Nearly 20,000 workers have had COVID-19, Amazon admits

Amazon.com Inc. signage is displayed in front of a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, US, on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

Enlarge / Amazon.com Inc. signage is displayed in front of a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, US, on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (credit: Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images)

Amazon on Thursday released high-level data on COVID-19 infection rates among its warehouse and in-store workers, saying that almost 20,000 “front-line” employees contracted COVID-19 between March 1 and mid-September.

Of 1.37 million people who worked either in Amazon distribution facilities or in Whole Foods stores during that period, 19,816—or about 1.44 percent—have had COVID-19, Amazon said. The company released the number in the context of a corporate blog post boasting of success with its mitigation measures.

“If the rate among Amazon and Whole Foods Market employees were the same as it is for the general population rate, we estimate that we would have seen 33,952 cases among our workforce,” Amazon wrote. “In reality, 19,816 employees have tested positive or been presumed positive for COVID-19—42% lower than the expected number.” The calculations do not include Prime delivery drivers, most of whom technically are not Amazon employees.

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