Amazon has identified more than 19,000 COVID-19 cases among its frontline workers

  • Amazon announced in a blog post Thursday that 19,816 of its frontline workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Amazon said that count came from its "analysis of data on all 1,372,000 Amazon and Whole Foods Market frontline employees" in the US employed at any time from March 1 to September 19.
  • The company claimed its positive case rate was 42% lower than it would expect based on rates in the general population around its facilities is, but its study has not been independently verified.
  • Amazon has come under fire repeatedly from workers over its pandemic response, and the company is facing multiple investigations over safety measures and working conditions.
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Since the beginning of March, 19,816 Amazon and Whole Foods workers have tested positive for COVID-19, Amazon said in a blog post Thursday.

The company said it conducted "a thorough analysis of data on all 1,372,000 Amazon and Whole Foods Market frontline employees across the U.S. employed at any time from March 1 to September 19, 2020."

Amazon claimed that its positive case rate was 42% lower than rates in the general population — as reported by Johns Hopkins University and while also accounting for the geography and age of its employees.

The company said its calculations were "conservative" on the basis that it included both confirmed and presumptive cases and that not everyone in the general population gets screened for the virus, though Amazon's analysis has not been independently verified.

Amazon said that due to its social distancing measures, paid leave policies, mandatory screenings, and other safety measures and investments, "our employees are at a very low risk of transmission in the workplace."

But workers have told a different story. Frontline employees working for both Amazon and Whole Foods have repeatedly gone on strike, filed whistleblower complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and individual states' workplace safety agencies, sued the company, and reached out to media organizations to draw attention to what they say are unsafe working conditions during the pandemic.

Amazon also has a long history of workers raising the alarm about workplace safety which resurfaced this week with a report from Reveal detailing how the company downplayed injury rates. The company has also aggressively cracked down on whistleblowers, firing multiple employees during the pandemic who spoke out about issues, monitoring their private social media conversations, and using technology to track workers seeking to organize for better conditions and pay.

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