COVID variant overshadows inflation, economic outlook

The Supreme Court has dismissed a distress call from staff at Massachusetts’ largest hospital system, which objects to the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons.

Judge Stephen Breyer on Monday did not comment on rejecting the request from staff at Mass General Brigham for a religious exemption from the system’s vaccine requirements. Lawyers for the employees said in court papers that six have been fired, one has resigned and another was vaccinated to remain employed.

Mass General Brigham, who with 80,000 workers is the state’s largest private employer, told employees they would stop if they did not get their first shot by November 5th.

The employees who sued claim that the claim violates federal laws on discrimination in the workplace.

Last month, judges rejected a similar appeal from Maine, over three dissenting votes.

Powell: COVID variant overshadows inflation, economic outlook

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant could slow the economy and employment, while increasing uncertainty about inflation.

The recent rise in coronavirus cases and the emergence of the omicron variant “pose downward risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation,” Powell said in prepared remarks to be delivered to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.

The new variant could also exacerbate supply chain disruptions, he added.

In the last two weeks, other Fed officials have said the central bank should consider winding up its ultra-low interest rate policy faster than it is currently planning. They mention concerns about inflation, which have risen to three-decade highs.

Still, Powell’s remarks suggest that the additional uncertainty raised by the omicron variant could complicate the Fed’s next move.

Give a Comment