It hasn't been a great start to the new year at least on the COVID-19 front. Covid cases have exploded throughout Massachusetts and the Berkshires. Mask mandates have been extended and many events are being canceled due to the uptick of Omnicron cases throughout the Berkshires. Even here at the radio station, on-air hosts can only interview guests by way of remote connections. Interviews with in-studio guests have been suspended, at least for now.

Many People I Know Throughout the Berkshires Contracted Covid

Though we don't necessarily have to like the changes, mandates, and cancellations along with feeling like it's 2020 all over again, I do agree with tightening up procedures and postponing events. I know more than a dozen people that were infected with covid, one of which is a close friend of mine who ended up on a breathing tube for days due to his symptoms being so severe. He's doing better now but his situation was very scary for a while.

A New Temporary Law Has Taken Effect in Massachusetts Pertaining to Employees Dealing with Covid

Many of us knew that as we were entering 2022, one of the Massachusetts laws that would be going into effect on Jan. 1 was the increase in the minimum wage across the Bay State. I saw that story everywhere...online, television, app alerts, etc. However, one law that may have been outshined due to the minimum wage media coverage, affects  Massachusetts employees with covid. As of Jan. 1, Massachusetts employees will now be paid sick leave time if they have covid or for covid related issues.

Here are some details on the Massachusetts law as written by John Robertson. The article was published by the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA)

The sick leave provisions require employers to temporarily provide emergency paid sick leave to employees who are absent or unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19, including employee self-care and care of a family member with a COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms, compliance with an order to quarantine because of exposure or symptoms, and inability to telework after a COVID-19 diagnosis.

In addition, Robertson included the following details pertaining to the new Massachusetts law:

An employee who works 40 hours or more per week is eligible for 40 hours of emergency paid sick time. Leave eligibility for employees who work less than 40 hours per week is tied to an average of the number of hours worked.

Obviously, nobody should have to suffer from covid but at least there is some peace of mind that if you are affected by the virus and you're a Massachusetts employee, you're still going to receive some pay from your employer.

RELATED: There's no doubt that COVID-19 can be confusing. Here are some answers to questions that you may have about the virus. 

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

KEEP READING: Massachusetts is a fun state to call home. Is it one where people live the longest? 

READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.