In the past week, Amazon, the second-largest private employer in the United States, in a blog post revealed that 19,816 of its US employees have tested positive or were presumed positive for the coronavirus. This represents a positivity rate of 1.44% in comparison with the total number of US workers.
Amazon said that it examined data from 1st March to 19th September on 1.37 million workers and that 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 stood at 33,952 cases.
This information comes months after heckling from state officials and employees of the company. The release of the information is expected to stir up protests by workers of the company which occurred quite often at the onset of the pandemic and provided a stronger motive for regulators to look into Amazon’s safety practices and protocols just before its holiday shopping season.
Amazon made it known that the positive cases recorded does not necessarily mean that the employee contracted the virus at an Amazon facility. “These individuals can be exposed in many ways outside of work,” Amazon said.
Given its current transparency on the matter, Amazon is calling on other corporate entities to follow in its precedence and release similar information.
”We hope other large companies will also release their detailed learnings and case rates because doing so will help all of us,” Amazon said. “This is not an arena where companies should compete — this is an arena where companies should help one another.”, the company further said.
The company went on to reiterate its position in protecting its workforce by saying it stepped up cleaning of its facilities, invested hundreds of million dollars in testing and adhered to social distancing protocols.
With respect to testing, Amazon said it is conducting thousands of tests a day, which will grow to 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November.
In a related news item, there has been speculation that a handful of Amazon’s employees had died from the coronavirus across different parts of the U.S. Amazon, however, did not make such give any information on the subject in the blogpost.