Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Amazon Reveals Nearly 20,000 Employees Have Contracted the Coronavirus

Business
Amazon Reveals Nearly 20,000 Employees Have Contracted the Coronavirus
People protest coronavirus working conditions outside of an Amazon warehouse fulfillment center on May 1, 2020 in Staten Island, New York City. Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

Online retail giant Amazon, which has seen its profits soar since COVID-19 lockdowns began, announced Thursday that nearly 20,000 of its employees either tested positive or have been presumed positive for the coronavirus, CNN reported.


Amazon revealed 19,816 COVID-19 cases, or roughly 1.44 percent of its front-line workforce, The Washington Post reported.

In a corporate blog post, Amazon said it examined data for about 1.37 million front-line employees who worked at Amazon and Whole Foods from March 1 to September 19. Amazon then compared the results to the official statistics reported by the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker. If Amazon's infection rate were commensurate with the general population, it would total almost 34,000 cases, the AP reported.

However, Amazon claims that its numbers are 42 percent lower than expected based on that comparison, CNN reported.

When CNN asked Amazon for a breakdown between Whole Foods and Amazon employees, the company declined to provide that information.

Another caveat to the data is that it does not include the company's large pool of delivery drivers, who are usually independent contractors, Amazon spokesperson Kelly Cheeseman told The Washington Post.

Health officials have had a difficult time obtaining accurate data from Amazon about infection rates at its facilities. An NBC News investigation revealed earlier this week that managers at a Wisconsin warehouse pushed hundreds of employees into a windowless room during a tornado warning back in August — just a day after employees learned about more of their coworkers testing positive. Afterward, the company refused to provide data on how many new cases resulted from the incident.

The county health director in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Dr. Jen Freiheit, described Amazon as "less than easy to work with," NBC News reported.

Amazon has received pushback from its employees who have criticized working conditions. In March, more than 1,500 employees across the U.S. and Europe signed a petition asking the company to adopt and enforce stricter safety protocols. At the time, one employee called the working conditions "totally insufficient" to keep people healthy, The Washington Post reported.

Despite efforts to improve safety conditions, including increased cleanings, temperature checks and mandatory face masks, some employees believe the company still has a long way to go.

Amazon's disclosure "is the most damning evidence we have seen that corporate America has completely failed to protect our country's front line workers in this pandemic," Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, said in a statement in The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, the company's profits have soared as demand for online shopping increased during the pandemic, The Washington Post reported. Amazon's stock price has almost doubled, adding tens of billions of dollars to founder Jeff Bezos' net worth in 2020, reported CNN.

Rashtrapati Bhavan engulfed in smog, at Rajpath, on Oct. 12, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Biplov Bhuyan / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

An annual comprehensive report on air pollution showed that it was responsible for 6.67 million deaths worldwide, including the premature death of 500,000 babies, with the worst health outcomes occurring in the developing world, according to the State of Global Air, which was released Wednesday.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

New research finds that dust in buildings with older furniture is more likely to contain a suite of compounds that impact our health. Aleksandr Zubkov / Getty Images

By Hannah Seo

If you've been considering throwing out that old couch, now might be a good time. Dust in buildings with older furniture is more likely to contain a suite of compounds that impact our health, according to new research.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Poor eating habits, lack of exercise, genetics, and a bunch of other things are known to be behind excessive weight gain. But, did you know that how much sleep you get each night can also determine how much weight you gain or lose?

Read More Show Less
Marine scientists who study seagrasses have published a study describing how to reintroduce eelgrass into Virginia coastal bays. Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Robert J. Orth, Jonathan Lefcheck and Karen McGlathery

A century ago Virginia's coastal lagoons were a natural paradise. Fishing boats bobbed on the waves as geese flocked overhead. Beneath the surface, miles of seagrass gently swayed in the surf, making the seabed look like a vast underwater prairie.

Read More Show Less
Landmark legislation aims to address the ocean impacts of human-caused global heating and reform federal ocean management. ToryYu1989 / PxHere / CC0

By Jessica Corbett

Leaders of climate and conservation groups on Tuesday welcomed House Democrats' introduction of landmark legislation that aims to address the ocean impacts of human-caused global heating and reform federal ocean management—recognizing that, as Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva put it, "a healthy ocean is key to fighting the climate crisis."

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch