Amazon has announced that nearly 20,000 employees have contracted COVID-19 since March. The company revealed the information in a blog post published this week which provided an analysis of its tests to nearly 1.4 million Amazon and Whole Foods employees across the country.
“When it became clear in March that testing Amazon employees for COVID-19 was going to be of critical importance, we assembled a team with a variety of skills—from research scientists and program managers to procurement specialists and software engineers—and moved them from their day jobs to focus on this initiative,” the company announced.
“We also hired dozens of lab technicians and others to build a world-class laboratory team. We’ve already launched and are ramping quickly, conducting thousands of tests a day and growing to 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November as part of our effort to keep our front-line employees safe. And because we’ve built this testing capacity ourselves, we’re adding to the total number of tests available—not taking supply from others.”
While it is a large number, Amazon said that the positive test results were 42 percent lower than they had projected.
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 7.31 million confirmed cases and 208,000 deaths in the United States — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.