Is there light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel? In Ireland and across Europe the numbers of new Covid cases in recent days and weeks remain at a fraction of those recorded last March and April. There have been fresh outbreaks in some places across the continent, but only a handful of places have come close to recording the numbers of cases of last spring. This is despite an end to lockdown and a cautious re-opening across the continent. So far so good, by and large.
Even more encouraging is what really matters in a pandemic - the number of deaths.
Across the continent fatalities from the disease have fallen precipitously, according to figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. From a peak in April when daily deaths in the thousands were taking place, they have declined by well over 90pc.
Ireland is following a similar path to the rest of our continent, with a much reduced number of cases and mercifully few deaths.
Another reason for hope is the weakening relationship between the number of new cases and the number of deaths - and that's happening not only in Europe, but across most of the world.
Like so much about coronavirus, there are no certainties around why this is happening. Some medics postulate that the virus may have mutated and become less lethal to humans.
Another explanation for this worldwide phenomenon is a greater focus on protecting those who are really vulnerable - the elderly and those with underlying conditions.
Yet another reason could be because medics are getting better at treating the disease as they understand it better.
But whatever the reason for fewer deaths relative to the number of cases, there is no denying how marked the trend has been.
What's happening in the United States may be the best example to illustrate this, as that country has been one of the few across the world to experience a full-blown second wave.
Up to mid-June the number of new cases recorded each day across the US had been stable for well over a month. Since then cases have soared, and are now three times higher than six weeks ago.
There's no doubt that some of that increase is accounted for by increased testing - the US is now conducting more tests per head of population than almost any other country.
But even accounting for this nobody denies that the disease has spread fast, particularly in the south and west of the country.
The (relatively) good news is that despite so many new cases over the past six weeks, there has been only a modest uptick in Covid fatalities, and the number of people dying each day remains far below last April when pictures of New York's inundated hospitals haunted viewers of news bulletins around the planet.
None of this means the world is in any way out of the Covid woods. A vaccine is still months away.
More personal interaction, including in schools, will inevitably lead to more localised spikes. And how the virus interacts with the coming winter's usual flu is probably the biggest question of all. The nights of next January could be very dark in more ways than one.
Among the reasons they will be grim is the economy. The impact of the virus and the measures taken to contain it will be felt for a decade, and possibly more. As of now, we are not even half a year into the crisis.
The response of governments across the world to the slump has been unprecedented. Ireland's surge in government spending has been similar to its rich world peers in magnitude.
Last week's 'July stimulus' package essentially tweaked and extended many of the supports that had already been put in place.
One could quibble with some of the measures, such as the always insane 'help to buy' home purchase scheme, but the main role of government now is to try to generate more economic activity in as many ways as possible.
The on-going spending splurge will go some way to boosting demand. Whether it will be enough, nobody knows. The economic outlook has probably never been as uncertain in living memory.
One thing that is certain is that last week's agreement on a European Union Recovery Fund will have much less impact on the bloc's economy than governments' actions have had on national economies since the crisis hit.
The centre-piece of the deal is the €750bn that the European Commission will be allowed to borrow. More than half of this cash will be handed over to the 27 member governments, and will not have to be paid back.
This might seem like a lot of money, but in reality it is not, particularly when spread over a number of years, as is planned.
To see how modest it is in the grand scheme of things consider that over the past five months the European Central Bank has printed more money in its pandemic programme than the €390bn that will be distributed by Brussels over years in new grants. The Recovery Fund will have an impact, but only at the margins.
Better news from an Irish perspective came this week. New figures published on Tuesday showed that the amount of stuff purchased from the nation's retailers in June surpassed the pre-Covid months. After a dramatic and historic collapse in retail sales during March and April, a perfect V-shaped rebound occurred in May and June.
That consumers had the willingness and the wherewithal to spend more or less as much they had been doing before the virus hit gives reason to hope that we are not at the beginning of the 21st century's rerun of the Great Depression.