Amazon has now confirmed its first case of coronavirus in the US. according to recent reports. The employee in question has not been named but worked out of the company's Seattle offices. The employee did not exhibit any symptoms when they left the office on February 25. But workers were subsequently told about the infection via email after it was reported to Amazon.
The report stems from one of the US's hardest-hit regions, Washington state. As of this writing, at least 21 individuals have been confirmed to have contracted coronavirus and at least eight have died. That's in the wider King County region of the state. That's compared to the global infection rate and death tolls, with figures coming in at over 92,000 infections and 3,161 deaths, respectively.
The most recent outbreak for Amazon seems to have impacted one of its office spaces, with Seattle serving as home to the online shipping company and tech giant's headquarters. Amazon's warehouses appear to remain free of the coronavirus for the time being.
How is Amazon responding to the coronavirus threat?
Amazon isn't the only major tech company to report coronavirus among its workers. Google also reported that one of its employees tested positive for the disease back in late February. That was reported to have happened at the search giant's Zurich office in Switzerland. But Amazon's response has been similar to its competitor's.
Google opted to begin by restricting the travel of its employees to Iran and Italy, before doing the same for South Korea and Japan. It also canceled its Google News Initiative Global Summit because of the disease spread. Later on, it opted to cancel one of its biggest shows of the year — namely, Google I/O 2020.
The most prominent parallel here, however, was Google's decision to reach out to its employees.
Amazon, in addition to US business travel restrictions and an end to warehouse tours, reached out to all of its employees. It also ensured that all co-workers who may have had contact with the employee. Specifically, that's other employees who were at its South Lake Union office complex in Seattle.
The online retailer also has begun conducting at least some of its interviews virtually rather than face-to-face.
The larger impact on the tech industry
The coverage of the effect of coronavirus on the rest of the tech industry has already been widespread. Aside from Google. Mobile OEMs have canceled or backed out of major world events, GMSA's MWC 2020 was nixed, and even Facebook halted its F8 Conference. Some device manufacturers, such as LG, have gone so far as to shut down some production.
Amazon has also previously been impacted by the disease, which brings similar typical symptoms and risks as the flu. Two Amazon employees in Italy were previously confirmed to have contracted the virus earlier in March. Those workers were placed in quarantine.
The tech industry has, in effect, been put on its heels by the spread of coronavirus, with growth and revenue taking a back seat to companies working to keep their employees safe.