The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos has seen his fortune grow by $6.4bn and Amazon is now worth $1.1trn after its shares hit a record high on Tuesday amid surging online orders during Coronavirus lockdown.
Bezos’ wealth has increased by roughly 20% over the last four months to the tune of $23 billion in 2020, cementing his position as the world’s wealthiest person with $138 billion.
Amazon has seen a massive surge in demand during the last four months, due to the coronavirus pandemic leading to people staying home and switching to online shopping.
According to Business Insider, Amazon’s stock was up more than four percent closing at $2,283.32 per share on Tuesday afternoon.
That topped the online retail giant’s previous high of $2,170.22 per share on February 19.
The huge surge in demand has put significant strain on Amazon’s army of warehouse workers, who now find themselves on the frontlines and packed into warehouses where COVID-19 can easily spread.
Amazon reportedly hired 100,000 extra US workers to cope with demand, and is looking to hire a further 75,000.
But more than 74 US warehouses alone have now reported cases of the virus, and concerns from workers about safety and sanitation have ballooned, leading to employee walkouts and protests.
On Tuesday, Business Insider broke the news that Amazon had seen its first warehouse worker death, an operations manager who worked at the company’s Hawthorne, California warehouse. The man died on March 31.
Amazon has brought in various measures inside its warehouses including a 6-foot distancing rule, supplying cleaning materials and hand wipes for workers, and introducing temperature checks.
Multiple Amazon warehouse workers have told Business Insider they still do not feel safe going into work, saying social-distancing measures are impossible inside the warehouses and sanitary supplies frequently run out.
“I am feeling like I’m forced to make a decision whether I have to go to work or pay my bills,” one worker told Business Insider.
With stocks rocketing, Bezos, who currently owns an 11.2 percent stake in Amazon, saw his fortune grow by $6.4bn to $138bn, according to a Forbes estimate.
The 56-year-old company’s founder was last week named the world’s richest person for the third year running despite his divorce last year, which cost him $36bn – a quarter of his stake in the tech giant.