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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Joe Rogan. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Joe Rogan back-pedaled on statements he made on his podcast last week when he suggested young people who are healthy do not need to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Rogan's comments drew swift backlash from critics, including multiple Biden officials.

  • "Did Joe Rogan become a medical doctor while we weren't looking?" White House communications director Kate Bedingfield quipped when asked about the comments on TV Wednesday.
  • "You're talking about yourself in a vacuum," said White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci on NBC.

Details: On an episode of his podcast out Thursday, Rogan acknowledged the White House's response to his comments and conceded "there's some legitimate science behind this."

  • "I'm not an anti-vaxx person," he clarified. "I said I believe they're safe and I encourage many people to take them. My parents were vaccinated. I just said that if you're a young, healthy person that you don't need it."
  • "Their argument was, you need it for other people ... But that's a different argument. That's a different conversation."
  • Rogan went on to add that his comments were blown out of proportion in part due to clickbait headlines.
  • He also said he was scheduled to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before that vaccine was temporarily paused.

"I'm not a doctor, I'm a f***-ing moron," he said. "I'm not a respected source of information, even for me ... But I at least try to be honest about what I'm saying."

Sources tell Axios that Spotify did not direct Rogan to soften his statements.

  • The tech giant faced criticism for giving the host a platform to spread misinformation about vaccines.
  • Spotify noted on its earnings report Thursday that increased subscriber growth and user engagement can be attributed in part to the better-than-expected performance of Rogan's podcast, which the company acquired exclusively for over $100 million.

The big picture: This isn't the first time Spotify has had to reckon with Rogan's comments. The audio company faced blowback for airing episodes of his podcast in October that featured far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

  • At the time, Spotify defended its decision not to remove the episode saying, “We are not going to ban specific individuals from being guests on other people’s shows, as the episode/show complies with our content policies."

Go deeper: Spotify reports strong Q1 revenue as Joe Rogan podcast exceeds expectations

Go deeper

Apr 28, 2021 - Technology

Spotify reports strong Q1 revenue growth

Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Spotify on Wednesday reported strong Q1 revenue growth, fueled by positive subscriber additions and strong ad sales, as well as lowered headwinds from foreign exchange rates.

The big picture: The Swedish tech giant noted that increased subscriber growth and user engagement can be attributed in part to the better-than-expected performance of "The Joe Rogan Experience," a podcast it acquired exclusively for over $100 million.

Biden: "Israel has a right to defend itself"

President Biden during a news conference at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden told reporters Wednesday it's his "expectation and hope" that there will soon be an end to fighting between Israel and Hamas, which has killed scores of Palestinians and several Israelis.

Details: Biden, after speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that he hoped the conflict would be "closing down sooner than later," despite Israel's government announcing plans to scale up its military offensive.

The states ending federal pandemic unemployment benefits early

Protesters demand senators support the continuation of unemployment benefits on July 16, 2020 in Miami Springs, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At least 13 Republican-led states have announced they are terminating their involvement in federal pandemic-related unemployment programs early.

Driving the news: Many of the states' governors cited worker shortages. But some experts say it's the job climate, including pandemic-era factors, and not unemployment benefits that is determining when and how people return to work.

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