Trader Joe's Claims a Low COVID Incidence Rate Among Store Workers


Trader Joe’s announced that over an eight-month period ending October 31st, 1,250 employees tested positive for COVID-19 out of 53,000, representing an infection rate of 2.4 percent.  Approximately a quarter of the 514 stores in 42 states had no evidence of exposure and the number of cases reported per store ranged from zero to four.  Of those infected, 95 percent have recovered and returned to work.


Although there are no available comparative figures for infection among grocery workers in other chains, the national rate assuming 9.2 million cases and 230 million population is four percent.


Trader Joe’s has ranked high on evaluation of measures to reduce the probability of infection including early adoption of masking, social distancing, and limiting the number of shoppers in each store.  Ipsos Consumer Health and Safety Index commented favorably on the action taken by Trader Joe’s during the initial phase of the pandemic.  In the second upsurge of COVID in September, Trader Joe’s was ranked second among retailers according to Ipsos.


Trader Joes applying social distancing of
customers and limiting occupancy

Jon Basalone, President of stores for Trader Joe’s noted that measures adopted exceeded the recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The United Food and Commercial Workers Union claims that 16,300 workers among the approximately 550,000 employed in meat packing plants, food processing facilities, and retail have been infected with an effective rate of 29 percent.  The UFCW claims that 108 workers have died from COVID-19 or a 0.7 percent fatality rate indicating that many of the positive diagnoses were either asymptomatic or mild. Given 9.6 million COVID cases through November 3rd and 233,000 fatalities, the national fatality rate among those actually diagnosed with COVID is 0.4 percent, accepting the undercounting of both direct and indirect fatalities.