The latest COVID-19 news in Boston, Mass., New England and beyond

New England lags behind as employees flee COVID-exposed jobs – 11:43 a.m.

The network of hospitals, prestigious universities and preparatory schools that propelled New England’s regional economic growth for decades is stunting its labor market recovery and fueling historically high unemployment.

After decades of maintaining an unemployment rate below that of the country as a whole, New England now sits above the US average. Its rate was 5% in November, the most recent month for which historical comparisons can be made, compared to 4.2% for the national figure.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about a third of the drop in payrolls in Massachusetts — the region’s economic engine — and Rhode Island is attributable to the slump in the health care and education services sectors. For the United States as a whole, this ratio is only 20%.

Canadian Prime Minister tests positive for COVID-19 — 11:03 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday he had tested positive for COVID-19, but “felt fine” and would continue to work remotely. The announcement was made in a tweet in which he urged everyone to “please get vaccinated and boost yourself”.

Trudeau said Thursday he would self-isolate for five days after finding out the night before that he had been in contact with someone who tested positive. He told The Canadian Press on Friday that the person was one of his three children. Trudeau had previously isolated himself at home in the early months of the pandemic after his wife tested positive.

Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world against the coronavirus – vaccines that are primarily designed to prevent those infected from becoming seriously ill. The announcement follows a weekend of protests in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, against vaccination mandates, masks and lockdowns. Some protesters traveled in convoys of trucks and parked in the streets around Parliament Hill, blocking traffic.

Spotify shares rise after addressing Joe Rogan controversy – 10:16 a.m.

By Bloomberg News

Spotify Technology soared after the streaming service announced it would add a content advisory to podcasts that discuss COVID-19, seeking to quell an outcry over Joe Rogan’s program. In the face of mounting pressure from users and musicians over the accuracy of virus information released by the platform’s most popular podcaster, Spotify has released its existing rules governing content. Rogan, meanwhile, has promised that he will present more balanced and better-researched programming on the coronavirus.

Shares were up 5.8% at 9:41 a.m. Monday in New York. That pared Spotify’s 12% drop last week, wiping nearly $4 billion off the company’s market value. Rock icon Neil Young had pulled his music from the service in protest at Rogan, which has welcomed several outspoken COVID-19 vaccine skeptics. Joni Mitchell followed Young’s lead, as did other musicians.

Spotify created rules governing acceptable content on its service years ago and built a hub with coronavirus information at the start of the pandemic, but only made them public on Sunday. Rogan thanked his listeners and Spotify and apologized for the controversy. “If I kicked you out, I’m sorry,” he said in an Instagram video over the weekend. He said he would “make more of an effort to bring people with dissenting opinions right after” and “would do my best to make sure I researched those topics.”

Potential scammers mimic free COVID testing websites – 10:09 a.m.

By Bloomberg News

As a new government website went live in January offering free COVID-19 test kits, a slew of new domain names have been registered. Some had remarkably similar URLs, or were almost the same but slightly misspelled.

Cybersecurity experts said the goal was likely the same for everyone: fake domain names that could be used for phishing attacks and other scams.

Suspected fraudsters have registered more than 600 suspicious domain registrations since January 15, around the time the Biden administration announced details of a program in which the US Postal Service would provide COVID-19 testing to the homes of Americans, email security firm Proofpoint Inc. told Bloomberg News. Similar URLs are often meant to trick COVID-weary Americans into thinking they’re signing up for a free nasal swab, when in fact they could be handing personal data to a cybercrime syndicate, cybersecurity experts have said. .

UK ‘partygate’ report criticizes ‘leadership failures’ – 9:54 am

By Bloomberg News

A major report into allegations of rule-breaking gatherings in Downing Street has revealed ‘failures of leadership and judgement’ at the top of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.

“At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to uphold not only the high standards expected of those working at the heart of government, but also the standards expected of the wider British population at the time,” said senior civil servant Sue Gray. said in its long-awaited report, released on Monday. While a parallel police investigation means Gray has been asked to rule out her findings on the most damaging allegations against Johnson and her team, the release of her report still represents a moment of political peril for the Prime Minister. He is due to speak in the House of Commons later on Monday to address the findings and will later speak to Tory MPs as well.

Johnson is trying to draw a line under the constant drip of allegations, dubbed “Partygate” by the British media. They have undermined his leadership in recent months, leading some lawmakers within his own ruling Conservatives to talk openly about toppling the prime minister and sinking his party in the polls. Since December, Gray has been investigating reports of more than a dozen apparently rule-breaking events at Johnson’s office and other departments in 2020 and 2021, at a time when gatherings were banned under the restrictions aimed at combating COVID-19. She was preparing to release her report last week before London’s Metropolitan Police announced they were launching their own investigation into the most serious allegations. Police released a statement on Friday saying they had asked Gray to make only “minimal reference” to the events they are investigating.

Joe Rogan responds to Spotify protest and COVID advisories – 9:13 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Following Spotify’s protests launched by Neil Young against the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine, the music streaming service said it would add content advisories ahead of podcasts discussing the virus.

In a post on Sunday, Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek laid out more transparent platform rules given the backlash over Young, who had his music removed from Spotify on Wednesday after the tech giant refused to get rid of episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience”. which has been criticized for spreading false information about viruses.

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