Amazon said in a blog the number of employees who have had the illness includes its workers at its grocery store chain Whole Foods Market. In total, 19,816 employees have had covid-19 between March 1 and Sept. 19, it said, or about 1.44 percent of its 1,372,000 front-line workers.
(Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Amazon emphasized that is at a lower rate than if measured across the U.S. population, citing Johns Hopkins University numbers.
The numbers only show Amazon’s infection rate in the U.S., and only includes front-line employees, such as warehouse workers and Whole Foods cashiers. In March, workers in Spain and Italy tested positive for the virus and joined those in the U.S. and across Europe in signing a petition that called on Amazon to adopt stricter safety guidelines, The Washington Post reported.
More than 1,500 workers signed the petition and one employee called the working conditions “totally insufficient” to keep people safe.
Since then, Amazon has rolled out stricter safety measures and started its own coronavirus-testing lab to screen workers. Amazon said Thursday it now conducts “thousands” of tests each day, and has a goal to get to 50,000 tests daily at 650 sites by November.
Amazon’s shipping and safety struggles during the pandemic have resulted in some boosts to its competitors including Target and Walmart, but the e-commerce giant’s revenue has continued to soar.