Amazon has recently released data that has confirmed that 19,816 employees have tested positive or been presumed positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began earlier this year.
According to the retail giant, they have released this data in hopes that other companies will share its coronavirus infection rates in an attempt to bring attention to the rising numbers.
According to the company’s own analysis of 1,372,000 Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line employees across the country, the 19,816 number is substantially lower than the general population rate, as reported by Johns Hopkins University, “accounting for geography and the age composition of our employees to make the data as accurate as possible.
The company has faced criticism in the past when it comes to COVID-19 and its employees. An NBC report found that a “lack of transparency, combined with the lack of federal protections for U.S. workers who contract infectious diseases” make it nearly impossible to track the spread of COVID-19 at Amazon.
Amazon said in the release that it became clear in March that testing employees would “be of critical importance” and assigned employees from different backgrounds to a team tasked with that mission.
In late March, roughly 100 workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York walked off the job demanding the facility be closed for cleaning after a co-worker tested positive for COVID-19, and they be given paid time off. Amazon fired the worker who organized the strike, saying he repeatedly violated the company’s social distancing guidelines.
Amazon says it hopes testing will enable the company to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by asymptomatic carriers.
“Those who test positive can be quarantined and cared for, and everyone who tests negative can safely do their jobs without the risk of infecting others,” Amazon said in the news release.