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On Thursday, Amazon released comprehensive data on the spread of the coronavirus among its employees, revealing for the first time that more than 19,000 workers, or 1.44% of the total, became infected with the virus this year.
Between March 1 and September 19, Amazon counted 19,816 suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-1
The information comes months after labor groups, politicians and regulators have repeatedly pressured Amazon to reveal how many of its workers were infected with Covid-19. At the start of the pandemic, warehouse workers expressed concern that Amazon was not doing enough to protect them from disease, and called for confirmed facilities to be closed. Lacking data from Amazon, warehouse workers compiled a database of crowdsourcing infections based on notifications of new cases at facilities in the United States.
Earlier, Amazon declined to share the data, saying it would be misleading and lacking context. In a blog post Thursday, Amazon said the total number of infections would be “more powerful” if other companies posted similar data. “Extensive data availability would allow us to assess our progress and share best practices in business and industry,” the company said.
The total does not include Amazon’s network of third-party delivery drivers who handle part of last-mile deliveries. It is not clear how many contracted drivers make up Amazon’s supply chain, but the company said earlier that it had added nearly 85,000 jobs in the United States, Canada, Britain, Spain and Germany.
At this level, Amazon said that the infection rate among employees is 42% lower than expected, compared to the “total population” in the United States. If the percentage of people infected with Amazon was in line with the community, the total number of cases would reach 33,952, the company said.
The company has long argued that the level of contamination in its warehouses is lower than in surrounding communities, although this is disputed by workers, particularly at Amazon’s Minnesota warehouse, where contamination rates exceed community levels.
Amazon also released an update on its progress, providing coronavirus tests to front-line workers. Thousands of tests are conducted daily, and Amazon expects to grow to 50,000 tests per day at 650 facilities by November.
CNBC previously reported that Amazon’s goal is to test most of its workers on the front lines every two weeks, with employees being tested with nasal pads. Earlier, the company said it would invest its expected second-quarter profit of $ 4 billion in its response to Covid-19 and spend $ 1 billion testing year-round.
Amazon has created a dedicated team of researchers, program managers, procurement professionals and software engineers to quickly expand its testing capabilities. It has built its own coronavirus testing capacity development laboratory, with teams focused on these efforts in Sunnyvale, California and Hebron Kentucky.
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