Apr 5, 2020 - World

Irish prime minister returns to medicine to help with coronavirus crisis

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie/PA Images via Getty Images

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has rejoined Ireland's medical registry to work one shift a week for the Health Service Executive, which is responsible for providing health and personal social services to everyone living in the country, the Irish Times reports.

The big picture: In March, the HSE asked all health care professionals not working in the medical field to reregister to help with the crisis. Around 50,000 people applied in less than three days.

  • Varadkar, who was a general practitioner for seven years before leaving the profession for politics, will be conducting patient assessments over the phone, per the Times.
  • Varadkar's mother was a nurse, and his partner, his two sisters and their husbands all work in the medical field.
  • Ireland has more than 4,600 cases and at least 137 deaths from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The stress that the coronavirus pandemic is placing on medical resources has prompted communities around the world to call on volunteers to supplement the work of health care professionals.

  • In the U.K., 405,000 people volunteered to help the National Health Service fight the outbreak in less than 24 hours after the government put out a request.
  • In New York, the epicenter of the crisis in the U.S., Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he's counting on 85,000 volunteers, including 22,000 from out of state, to assist with the growing number of patients. More than 6,000 mental health professionals are also volunteering to provide free services in New York.

Go deeper: Coronavirus tests world leaders like never before

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Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimated 4.8% contraction — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

2 hours ago - Economy & Business