It is now increasingly clear that the coronavirus will continue to spread. It is also clear it will have some negative consequences. Among the negative consequences is a likely slowdown in the domestic and global economies.
Before discussing that issue, consider the most important consequence of the outbreak - its impact on human health.
Although the virus has a low fatality rate, and that should fall further as the world learns by the day how to deal with it more effectively, it is around 20 times more deadly than the standard flu.
The most comprehensive analysis available of the outbreak in China showed fatality rates are highest for the elderly and those with serious illnesses.
I have been unable to establish from medical experts the number of illness-related high-risk people in Ireland, but the numbers of older people are available. They give cause for concern.
In China, fatality rates among those who have contracted the virus have been much higher for those aged 60 and over than for younger adults and children.
Almost no younger people ended up dying from coronavirus, but among the over-80s, one in seven people who contracted it died. Among seventysomethings it was close to one in 10.
There are almost half a million people in their 60s in Ireland, according to CSO data. There are more than 300,000 seventysomethings. There are 165,000 people aged 80 and over.
If half the population of older people in Ireland were to contract the virus and fatality rates were only half of those in China, deaths would reach 17,000. To put that in context, there have been around 30,000 deaths in Ireland annually in recent years.
Such an outcome would only materialise if everyone ignored the virus. Now, almost nobody is ignoring it. Quite the opposite, in fact.
There are other factors that will save lives. Ireland has a much better health system than China. All countries are now better prepared than China when the virus emerged out of the blue. And the benefits of rapid learning among medics around the world will push fatalities down even further if infection rates move onto an exponential growth trajectory.
In the days, weeks and months to come, it is more vital than ever we all keep a very close eye on our older relatives, friends and neighbours, while at the same time keeping our distance.
Crucial to containing infections will be decisions and actions of individuals, families, organisations of all kinds and the government. Unfortunately, many of the measures needed to slow infection will also slow the economy. Changes to behaviour will slow economic activity too. The effects will be felt via multiple channels.
One is confidence. Already, the effects of people taking fright are to be seen in financial markets. Prices of most company shares around the world have plummeted since the virus started to spread outside China.
Such falls tend to get a lot attention, at least on the business pages of newspapers, but their effect on the real economy can be limited to non-existent.
'Black Monday' in 1987 saw one of the biggest stock market falls in history, but it had no effect on indicators that are meaningful to most people's lives, such as the unemployment rate.
This is not to say recent financial market turbulence should be brushed off, but much of these falls are likely to go into reverse once infections peak, as they appear to have done in China, the epicentre of the outbreak.
Other industries won't bounce back without cost. The virus is already affecting a lot of people and businesses in the tourism and travel sector - one of the world's biggest industries. It is very likely to suffer significantly in the short term even if containment succeeds.
The impact for airlines and travel companies will unavoidable. The impact on tour operators, hotels, restaurants and pubs will be partially offset by Irish people holidaying at home rather than abroad, but it is still likely to be significant.
If the impact magnifies, there will a strong case for government to consider time-limited measures to support the sector, such as deferral of tax payments to help cash flow constraints. Otherwise healthy businesses should not go to the wall because of a short-term demand shock.
There are also supply-side problems arising from the outbreak. The world economy is integrated across borders like never before. It is a complex system that nobody fully understands. It has never been hit by a coronavirus-type event before.
Ireland is an unusually globalised economy. Very few countries in the world depend as much for their prosperity on foreign trade and investment.
To take just one example, Ireland's exports of goods to China last year stood at almost €9bn. Although Europe-wide figures are not yet available for 2019, data from previous years suggest Ireland has become the biggest exporter to China on a per person basis in the EU.
By value, more than half of the merchandise shipped from Ireland to China last year was accounted for by "electrical equipment and appliances".
There has already been a hit to phone manufacturing sector in China because of the large scale shutdown of activity in that country.
This effect, and many others, means a slowdown in economic activity in Ireland and around the world will take place. This will have implication for domestic politics in general and government formation more particularly.
All of the political parties campaigned on the basis there would be plenty of the fiscal space in the years to come thanks to continued strong economic growth. While there were clouds on the horizon on the day of the election almost four weeks ago, the short-term economic outlook then was very rosy.
The spread of the coronavirus over the past two weeks has changed things. Tax revenues, which reassuringly grew very rapidly in January and February, could go into reverse in the months ahead if the economy slows.
At the same time, the health-related costs for the State in dealing with the outbreak are likely to be considerable, while meaningful measures to help workers and keep otherwise healthy businesses afloat won't come cheap.
A caretaker government, aided and advised by experts across a range of fields in the public sector, can be just as effective in handling the fallout from the virus as a non-caretaker government.
Indeed, it may be better positioned to manage the outbreak than a brand new coalition that is finding its feet. Government formation should be a lower priority than handling this new disease and its consequences.