Amazon.com plans to start COVID-19 testing of all its employees regularly, including those showing no symptoms.
Regular testing on a global scale across all industries would both help keep people safe and help get the economy back up and running. But, for this to work, the society would need vastly more testing capacity than is currently available. Unfortunately, today COVID-19 testing is heavily rationed.
If every person, including people with no symptoms, could be tested regularly, it would make a huge difference in how we are all fighting this virus. Those who test positive could be quarantined and cared for, and everyone who tests negative could re-enter the economy with confidence.
Until we have an effective vaccine available in billions of doses, high-volume testing capacity would be of great help, but getting that done will take collective action by NGOs, companies, and governments.
Amazon has begun the work of building incremental testing capacity. A team of Amazonians with a variety of skills – from research scientists and program managers to procurement specialists and software engineers – have moved from their normal day jobs onto a dedicated team to work on this initiative. The company says it has begun assembling the equipment needed to build their first lab and hopes to start testing small numbers of their front line employees soon.