Amazon has released data on the spread of COVID-19 within its workforce.
In a blog post, the Seattle-based retail giant announced that 19,816 employees have either tested positive or been presumed positive for the illness.
The company explained that it conducted a “thorough analysis of data” on all of its 1,372,000 United States-based Amazon and Whole Foods Market frontline workers who were employed at any time from March 1 to Sept. 19. Based on the study, it estimated that it would have seen 33,952 cases among its workforce if the rate was the same as it was for the general population.
Instead, it said its positive case rate was 42% lower than rates in the general population, as reported by Johns Hopkins University researchers, plus accounting for the geography and age of its employees.
“We have been conservative in this analysis,” Amazon wrote. “First, we cast a wide net by including both confirmed and presumptive cases in the Amazon figures. Second, actual COVID-19 rates in the general population are greater than the official counts because not everyone in the general public gets screened for symptoms or tested.”
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According to the e-commerce behemoth, employees are regularly screened for symptoms and are “increasingly being tested” at work, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms. It previously shared that it had assembled a team of research scientists, program managers, procurement specialists and software engineers to focus on its COVID-19 testing initiative. The company said that it aims to conduct 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November.
“We’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars in this initiative, but testing is just one of the things we’re doing to keep our front-line employees safe,” added Amazon. It said that it has distributed more than 100 million face masks, implemented temperature checks at its locations, mandated enhanced cleaning procedures and introduced extensive social distancing measures to help reduce its employees’ risk of contracting the virus.
“We hope other large companies will also release their detailed learnings and case rates because doing so will help all of us,” the retailer wrote. “This is not an arena where companies should compete — this is an arena where companies should help one another.”
Early in the pandemic, Amazon was scrutinized for its safety measures as cases began to emerge, but the retailer acted quickly in an attempt to reassure employees and the public.