Early on Tuesday morning, Amazon confirmed that an employee in Houston, Texas, had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. According to a report by local NBC News affiliate Click 2 Houston, the affected worker was on the management team. They are now in quarantine and recovering from their symptoms.
Naturally, this news hit people all over the country with a fresh wave of fear. Many worried that their Amazon packages might be able to carry the virus from places around the world. According to the Center of Disease Control, however, that is very unlikely. So far, no cases have been linked to contact with packages, and researchers found that the virus only survived for 24 hours on a cardboard box.
Still, the news did not sit well with many people, and there were other things to be anxious about. Many worried about the employee, and the others they had worked with, given the virus' relatively high mortality rate compared to other viruses.
Others worried about the community itself, and the larger structure of Amazon, which has become vital for delivering goods to people in self-isolation.
Here is what Twitter has to say about the COVID-19 case in a Houston Amazon facility.
First up, many Houston locals were relieved to hear that the person infected with COVID-19 was in quarantine. They were also pleased by reports that the person was recovering, and that others who had been in contact with them were being observed as well.
Somebody at Amazon IN HOUSTON done caught The Rona. It’s too many people that work there and so many orders constantly getting sent out. Y’all really need to be careful!!!— _head0verheels (@_head0verheels) March 24, 2020
Still, many people's minds raced straight to the ripple effect this case could have — on customers, on other employees and even on other facilities.
No More Orders
Wonderful , I guess I can stop placing Amazon orders.— bmm (@biancammartin16) March 24, 2020
Some users decided right then and there to stop placing orders on Amazon for fear of contracting the virus. Others corrected them, letting them know that experts said it was still safe to accept deliveries.
Only lasts up to 24 hrs on cardboard. If the item you buy is wrapped, wipe down the packaging in a bleach solution before opening. Stay safe!— . (@closetn00b) March 24, 2020
The news did lead to a wider discussion about how the coronavirus is transmitted, however, and what kind of interactions are safe. Some people still recommended washing deliveries when they arrived out of an abundance of caution.
Nope I work for amazon in Houston in there’s no hand sanitizer no Lysol wipes nothing— luisz (@TrillJr713) March 23, 2020
Some users claiming they worked at Amazon in Houston gave users an inside account of how the company is handling the outbreak. They criticized Amazon for not providing hand sanitizer, wipes and other sanitary products to protect employees as much as possible on the job. Some also said that the case came from one of Amazon's smaller intermediary facilities, not Houston's main fulfillment center.
I say do the same damn thing when you have the flu . How many people do you indirectly kill not staying home when sick with the flu ! Common sense people .— Shortskirt⭐⭐⭐✡️✝️✡️✝️🇺🇸 (@BollierSusan) March 24, 2020
A few people lashed out at the infected employee themselves, saying that they should have stayed home if they were getting sick. Of course, this is one of the unique things about COVID-19 — people can carry the virus for up to two weeks without symptoms, yet they remain contagious the whole time.
For the Money
Thts one of those small delivery centers not the big plant I work at...I have my mask on and wiping n everything & everybody down lol but imma make this 35$ a hr 🤣— K’Lux3 (@KLuxeCollectio1) March 24, 2020
Finally, there was debate among Amazon employees about staying home through the virus, but many said they could not turn down the money. They pointed to the raised wages Amazon was offering due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the overtime. They hoped that their personal protective equipment would see them through.