Which country has been 'hardest hit' by the coronavirus? Who has 'done well'? How recklessly have Donald Trump and Boris Johnson behaved in their response to pandemic?
Very often, those posing such questions are not very good at their sums. Many have a strong political bias.
Let's start with the usual - massive - caveats around how different countries have been affected by the pandemic. As so little is known about the virus, its effects, and which measures are effective in containing it, it remains impossible to say definitively which countries' populations are most affected and which countries are 'doing best'.
It will take a long time before hard conclusions can be reached on most of the big questions. These months will be studied for decades to come by scholars in many fields to see how people, organisations and countries have fared in these extraordinary circumstances.
Reliable comparisons between countries are still rare. But one good source is Eurofound, a European Union agency based in Ireland. Its Eurocrats, hidden away in a north Dublin suburb, study issues around the quality of life across the continent. For those curious about how countries differ and how they are similar, Eurofound's research provides a treasure trove of information.
This week the organisation published a wide-ranging survey. It found that we Irish remain among the most optimistic in Europe in these grim times. Almost six in 10 people were upbeat about their futures, according to the survey taken in April as lockdowns were really biting and fears of super-saturated intensive care units had anyone who was paying attention seriously scared. Across 27 countries, only the Nordic trio - the Danes, Finns and Swedes - were markedly sunnier in how they viewed their futures.
One general reason for Irish optimism now is where we started. Such surveys have always shown Irish people to be comparatively optimistic. As someone who has lived in a handful of countries, on coming home I found our ah-sure-it'll-be-grand attitude refreshing after experiencing the pervasive pessimism that is more normal in many other places.
One of those places is France. For many years the French have been glummer than glum. In the latest Eurofound survey, next to Greece, they are the most pessimistic in Europe by a distance.
It is fashionable among the chattering classes in Ireland to berate the Brits for their nostalgia. According to inhabitants of a certain echo chamber, our neighbours wake each morning from dreams of the Raj. Anyone who knows a bit about the world beyond what can be gleaned from the 'Guardian' newspaper knows the French are a lot more nostalgic than the nation of shop-keepers across the English channel. If you think Johnson and Brexit are bad, just wait for President Le Pen and Frexit.
Another more specific reason Irish respondents were more optimistic than most other Europeans about the future - even in the depths of lockdown - is the jobs outlook. A separate survey published yesterday by the Irish State's statisticians showed 94pc of people whose jobs had been affected negatively by the pandemic expect to return to the same jobs.
It is to be sincerely hoped such a high proportion of people will indeed pick up where they left off with their employers, but the dismalist in me says such an outcome now appears over-optimistic.
The economy is collapsing. The effects on all our lives look increasingly frightening. More than a few jobs are never coming back. Those in the hospitality sector, in particular, need to think of redirecting their energies and inventiveness.
One of the positive insights from economics is that there are not a fixed number of jobs, as many people intuitively believe. The 'lump of labour' fallacy, as it is known in economics, shows that when there are more people, there will be more jobs. Human beings are innovative and enterprising. We will recover from this. The big question is how long it will take.
Another interesting finding from this week's Europe-wide Eurofound survey is how people across the continent trust their healthcare systems. Despite health ranking as among the most important issues for Irish voters over two decades - the exception was the period of recession from 2008 to 2012 - and constant claims that the Irish system is 'third world', Ireland ranks better than average among the bloc's 27 members.
Higher than average trust levels in the healthcare system will probably rise further in future. The bravery shown by all those who have done their jobs in places where infected victims of the virus are being treated means they deserve all the plaudits they are getting. Thousands of healthcare workers have got the disease and a small number have lost their lives in the line of duty. Their sacrifice and the risks still being taken by their colleagues are unlikely to be forgotten any time soon.
Something else that will increase trust in the health system is the improvements currently being implemented. Informed sources say changes to how the system functions are happening at a previously unimaginable speed.
Better still, many of these reforms are not short-term tweaks, but real modernisations which will have lasting positive effects on the efficiency of the system.
What's happening in healthcare illustrates something else about Irish life - that vested interests are very powerful and they often usually succeed in blocking reforms that discommode them, but when a real crisis kicks in, the strong civic-mindedness we possess collectively as a nation kicks in too. That is probably another explanation for the high levels of optimism shown in this week's Europe-wide survey. It should stand to us during the tough times ahead.