The coming week marks six months since the first Covid death in Ireland. In early March, and over subsequent weeks, the world went into a justifiable panic. A new and unknown disease was spreading rapidly around the globe. Hospitals were filling up fast. Most alarmingly, people were dying in greater numbers with each passing day. It was very far from clear how bad things could get.
Half a year on, much more is known about the disease. Most reassuringly the worst-case scenarios, which were credibly put forward by those who modelled the progression of infectious diseases, have not come to pass.
Globally the number of daily fatalities has not reached the peaks of mid-April. Nowhere is it rising on the sort of exponential trajectory that would point to it running out of control, as was feared six months ago.
Having to live with a new killer disease is a tragedy. But context is needed. It is always needed when dealing with big numbers as the constant and misleading references in the media to countries with big populations being 'the hardest hit' by Covid.
In normal times, more than a million lives come to an end each week across the world. So far, the total confirmed death toll from Covid is expected to reach a million in the second half of this month.
In the last significant global pandemic - the Hong Kong flu from 1968 to 1969 - a million people died. As the planet's population has more than doubled since then, it will be some time yet before Covid is confirmed as more deadly than Hong Kong flu.
If the health effects of Covid have been nowhere near the worst-case scenarios of six months ago, the economic effects are very much in the zone of worst cases set out as the pandemic took hold.
That is as true for Ireland as it is for most of the rest of the world.
What's more, while there is hope that the worst of the health impact has passed, particularly in Europe where fatalities remain at a fraction of the spring-time peak, there is every reason to believe that we are only at the beginning of a protracted period of economic woe.
If the economic outlook is generally grim, it is not universally so. Ireland has been doing relatively well in two important respects.
Last week, the EU's statisticians published figures on retail spending across the bloc for July. Ireland topped the growth league. While many countries saw the amounts spent in shops fall way back on the same month in 2019, Irish consumers increased their spending by more than in any other country.
The V-shaped recovery in Irish consumer spending was already in evidence in June. A (warranted) fear expressed by some was that the rebound in retail in June was temporary - the result of pent-up demand for everything from garden centre wares to laptops, and DIY equipment to Penneys' pyjamas.
A further increase in sales volumes in July suggests that the bounce-back immediately after the end of lockdown was not a one-off phenomenon.
Underpinning the return of retailing is consumers' cash piles in bank accounts.
The latest figures show that household deposits have shot up since March. Even in July, when people were freer to get out and spend, the nation's collective bank deposits recorded one of the biggest monthly jumps on record. These trends in savings and spending, however, are unlikely to last. The rolling back of the pandemic unemployment payments and wage subsidy schemes, which were never going to be affordable for more than a short period, will affect the capacity of consumers to keep spending.
As bankruptcies and permanent job losses start to bite in the hospitality, transport and leisure sectors, aggregate household incomes will fall. Greater job insecurity for many will make those affected less likely to spend. All of this means the outlook for the retail sector ranges from weak to woeful.
Thankfully, there are cheerier prospects for the other out-performing sector of the Irish economy: manufacturing. The latest monthly figures, for June, show that Ireland was alone across the European Union in having its factories churn out more in that month than in the same period a year earlier.
While this outlying position is even more eye-catching than that of retail, it is less unexpected. Irish manufacturing is dominated by the pharmaceutical and medical devices sector - the value of its output exceeds that of all other manufactured goods (including food products) combined. Unlike the retail sector, the pharma sector should continue to act as an engine of growth for the economy.
And the economy is going to need every source of growth it can muster in the times ahead. The quarterly Labour Force Survey for April to June showed the biggest quarterly fall in jobs ever, surpassing even any three-month period during the jobs apocalypse that was the property/financial crash of more than a decade ago.
The hospitality sector was the worse hit, losing 50,000 jobs between the first and second quarters of the year. This goes a long way to explaining another shocking statistic to emerge: that all the job losses were among workers with lower levels of education. Astonishingly, the numbers of graduates employed actually rose in the April-to-June period.
Ireland has avoided the sort of increases in income inequality that some other similar countries have experienced in recent decades. The Covid crash could well change that, as lower skilled and lower paid jobs suffer most.
That brings us to the state of the public finances. Last week saw the publication of the Government's spending and tax revenue figures for August. Surprisingly, tax receipts in the first eight months of the year are almost identical to the same period last year, a time when the economy was booming. One reason for the resilience in revenues is concentration of job losses in the low-paid sectors. As low-paid workers pay little or no personal taxes, there has been little impact on the revenue side of the Government's ledger.
The same cannot be said for the spending side. Outlays have soared since the pandemic struck. That is no surprise. Hundreds of thousands of people falling into the social safety net, and hundreds of thousands more having their pay subsidised by the State, have caused welfare spending to explode.
How sustainable is all of this, and when will the bill fall due?
In Britain, finance minister Rishi Sunak last week started talking about tax hikes to pay the massive bill Covid is generating. More relevant to Ireland is what policy makers in Germany think. In a speech last week the boss of the German central bank, Jens Weidmann, warned against 'zombification' of the economy via indiscriminate prolongation of furloughing schemes, adding that "after the crisis, monetary policy measures must be scaled back again".
Defining when the crisis ends will not become an issue of contention until well into next year, but make no mistake: Covid-19 has made the world poorer. Recessions come with costs. Pretending this time will be different is delusional.
The negative effects of slumps, regardless of their causes, cannot be wished away. That is more true of depressions than recessions. Alas, economic depression looms as a real possibility.