A 63-year-old California man offered a position at an Amazon delivery center during the company's March hiring spree saw it as a chance to earn some money and avoid dipping into his savings. He died from the coronavirus two weeks after he started work. Family members say Walnut resident Harry Sentoso had applied for dozens of other jobs and was excited about returning to work at the Irvine center, where he had done seasonal work in the past; it had laid him off weeks earlier. They say he started feeling unwell six days after starting work but didn't want to miss a shift so soon after returning to work. He managed to work for four more days but started to self-quarantine on April 9, after his wife tested positive for the virus. He died April 12.
Amazon has refused to release official numbers of COVID-19 cases among its workers, but employees nationwide have reported more than 1,000 infections and at least seven other deaths. Six other cases at California warehouses were reported the week Sentoso went back to work, but Irvine workers were never told about a case. Amazon says it never received confirmation that Sentoso died from the virus. UCLA student Evan Sentoso, the younger of his two sons, tells the Los Angeles Times that he spoke to the local HR rep and asked: "Why are you hiring people if you’re shipping out nonessential goods? Someone’s life is not worth less than some person’s board game." He says he is sharing his father's story because "the last thing I want is for another family of another worker to go through what we have." (Read more Amazon stories.)