Amazon confirms that 19,816 or 1.4% of its 1,372,000 front-line employees test positive for COVID-19 for the testing period starting March through September 19, 2020.
This accounts for Amazon and Whole Foods combined.
This is the first time the firm disclosed the alarming number long after speculations circulated in the technology news.
Industry spectators attribute the disclosure to the growing calls for transparency coming from varied sectors, including investors.
During the pandemic, Amazon.com is one of the primary recipients of unprecedented sales surge. The company had to ramp up operations despite the health risk to meet growing demand.
With millions of online orders are made in its digital platform, the Nasdaq giant had to strictly follow its business-as-usual stance and even outsourced seasonal workers to compensate for the swelling numbers of orders.
In a blog, the technology firm wrote about the initiatives it has taken to curb the spread of the virus in the workplace, reporting the strict protocols they adopted to ensure their front-line employees’ safety.
These include the procurement of top of the line epidemiologists, specialists, and outbreak response doctors and constructing a “world-class” laboratory to head tests.
It currently conducts thousands of testing in a day across its 650 sites, which is expected to reach 50,000 by November.
Despite the hefty sum of investment that the company exhausted, the results seem to be “partially” invalidating what has been done.
The modern technology platform said that some workers may have contracted the virus outside work, especially now that the pandemic makes a regular appearance across all states. The US still leads the charts with the most number of cases.
Painful Blow to the Technology Giant’s Efforts
Although results are quite alarming to ingest, Amazon.com Inc said that the nearly 20,000 infected cases are way below what they expected.
In a report, the Bezos-owned firm asserted that they were anticipating some 33,952 cases from their employees in the front-lines, 42% above the incumbent numbers.
It acknowledged that aside from generous investments done through research and development, the firm’s “enhanced” cleaning procedures and distribution of a hundred million face masks also gave positive contributions.
However, the Indiana warehouse does not agree with the claims. Workers said that cleaning in their site is uneven, and there has been no appropriate social distancing in their “crowded” workplace.
In June, three front-line workers sued the modern technology juggernaut, claiming that working conditions put them to greater risk in contracting the virus.
Along with the news of COVID-19 infections came the launch of Amazon One. The new feature boasts a palm recognition technology that will turn a person’s palm into a personal credit card.
The innovation will scan the palm for user identification through a combination of surface-area marks such as lines and ridges, and vein patterns to create what is known as a palm signature.
According to Amazon’s representative, the palm scanning technology will be garner no privacy concerns from the market as this does not disclose identity like facial recognition.
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