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Over 20,000 employees tested positive for COVID-19: Amazon

Amazon.com Inc recently informed that almost 20,000 of its U.S workforce have tested positive for Coronavirus in a span of over six months. The announcement followed alot of criticism from some lawmakers and employees that the world’s largest online retailer was insufficiently transparent about outbreaks within its ranks.

Data on the e-commerce giant’s 1.37 million frontline workers, including those at its Whole Foods Market grocery stores in the United States, showed a lower infection rate than expected, Amazon said.

Amazon has ramped up testing to 50,000 a day across 650 sites, according to the Seattle-based company.

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The retailer on Thursday said in a blog post, “Since the beginning of this crisis, we’ve worked hard to keep our employees informed, notifying them of every new case in their building.”

Amazon has dealt with outbreaks of Covid-19 at facilities in Europe and the U.S. Company data published alongside the blog post on Thursday show that Amazon’s case rate was lower the expected rate for an employer of its size in most U.S. states where the company operates.

In the first the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon scrambled to adjust its operations and accommodate social distancing at its hundreds of warehouses, which kept operating through state-mandated closures in March and April. At the same time, the company repeatedly declined to detail the scope of the sicknesses within its ranks, with a top logistics executive calling the figure “not a particularly useful number.”

That silence irked employees, some of whom felt they were being kept in the dark about the severity of outbreaks, and lawmakers who were seeking to identify virus hotspots. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in May led a coalition of her peers asking Amazon to make public data on infections among its workers and employees of Whole Foods, a subsidiary.

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