- Amazon has at least ten confirmed cases of COVID-19 across its U.S. warehouses.
- COVID-19 can remain “stable” on cardboard for 24 hours, three days on plastic and stainless steel.
- U.S. senators have questioned Amazon’s working conditions and if they are putting the country at risk.
As coronavirus gripped headlines over the past several weeks, at least ten confirmed cases of the illness has spread across Amazon’s vast U.S. warehouses.
Two New York facilities, along with warehouses in Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Oklahoma, California, Illinois and Connecticut have had at least one employee test positive for COVID-19.
Delivery drivers and warehouse workers have claimed they lack protective gear like gloves, masks and goggles amid the outbreak and don’t even have enough hand sanitizer to wipe down their workstations.
Despite social distancing guidelines, warehouse workers still work closely
As demand for Amazon’s services increases, expectations of delivery drivers to deliver their packages and complete routes faster continue to grow. This means that even if they did have the necessary supplies, they wouldn’t have time to wipe down all of their packages to ensure safety.
COVID-19 can remain on cardboard surfaces for 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel for up to three days. If an Amazon worker who had no time to use the restroom – let alone wash their hands – touches a product box or the plastic it goes in, COVID-19 could exist on it for up to three days.
Senators Probe Amazon
Four senators have sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos detailing their concern for employees who are packing and shipping orders in warehouses.
Senators Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Bob Menendez and Sherrod Brown have cited recent experiences by Amazon warehouse workers who say they feel unsafe at work.
The letter notes:
Any failure of Amazon to keep its workers safe does not just put their employees at risk, it puts the entire country at risk. That means that Americans who are taking every precaution, staying home and practicing social distancing, might risk getting infected with COVID-19 because of Amazon’s decision to prioritize efficiency and profits over the safety and well-being of its workforce.
The senators also asked six questions of Bezos, which required a written response from him by Thursday. The inquiries include whether Amazon will agree to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing for employees and if Amazon will shut down warehouses where a worker tests positive.
Despite supposedly adhering to CDC guidelines, Amazon warehouses seem to be a haven for the transmission of COVID-19.
Amazon, however, doesn’t seem to be taking the issue seriously, even going so far as to offer incentves and overtime for anyone willing to work more.
As the company prepares to ramp up hiring for 100,000 workers, the problem could get worse.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.