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Amazon workers test positive for covid-19 at six U.S. warehouses

The U.S. coronavirus outbreak has spread to at least six Amazon warehouses, infecting workers racing to deliver massive volumes of packages for consumers leery of leaving their homes to shop.

In the past few days, Amazon workers tested positive for covid-19, the disease caused by the novel virus, in New York City; Shepherdsville, Ky.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Katy, Tex.; Brownstown, Mich.; and Oklahoma City, according to Amazon and local media reports. In some cases, Amazon shut down facilities for cleaning, and some co-workers who were in close contact with their infected colleagues have been quarantined.

Just last week, warehouse workers sounded alarms that the company is not doing enough to protect them from the virus. That came after workers at Amazon warehouses in Spain and Italy tested positive for the virus. Since then, more than 1,500 workers from around the world have signed a petition that calls on the company to take additional steps to ensure safety in the workplace.

Some workers complained that Amazon pushes them to meet the per-hour rate at which it wants orders fulfilled, a practice that they worry discourages safe sanitary practices such as washing hands after a cough or sneeze. Others have complained about “stand-up” meetings, where workers stand shoulder-to-shoulder at the start of each shift.

The new outbreaks at Amazon’s U.S. facilities come days after the online retail giant announced plans to hire 100,000 new workers to help cope with the flood of orders that have clogged its system. That unexpected surge has rendered Amazon unable to stock and ship household staples to many customers who had come to rely on the company’s convenience.

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