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.
Amazon shared a state-by-state breakdown (PDF) showing where infections per 1,000 employees stand as compared to its projections and as compared to state-level data. For most states, Amazon’s case count is indeed lower than the state-level count. That said, the company is clearly having some issues with hot spots: in both West Virginia and in Minnesota, Amazon’s infection rate is higher than both its projections and the community rate. The rate for Amazon workers is also higher than the state rate in New Hampshire.
Earlier reporting by Bloomberg found that one warehouse outside of Minneapolis had an infection rate more than four times higher than the rate in the surrounding community, which likely contributes to Amazon’s 3.17-percent case rate in Minnesota. That media brought that number to light, however, highlights the larger