Most people have access to Euronews, the Europe-wide TV news channel. Have you watched it lately? If you haven't, you should. It is not only horizon-broadening, it provides a welcome break from Covid coverage.
Yesterday morning its top three headline stories were: riots in Athens following the banning of an extremist political party; debate in the European Parliament on measures to curb climate change; and a Facebook ban on conspiracy theorists using its platform.
There was no mention of Covid-19. That is not unusual, as the station does not obsess about the virus. Nor does Euronews routinely give daily figures on coronavirus infection rates and deaths across the continent, despite the rest of the EU on average having a higher incidence of both than Ireland.
Why do we dramatise the pandemic in a way other countries don't?
Foreign diplomats based here have asked yours truly that question numerous times recently. They are scratching their heads at the obsessively catastrophic nature of Ireland's national discussion of the disease. In their home countries, Covid is central of course, but it does not fill all news bulletins - and the ad breaks in between - to the exclusion of almost everything else.
Is there something in the Irish history to explain this collective reaction, diplomats ask. Are the Irish not supposed to be a tough lot? Is the 'fighting Irish' myth really just that? These are questions that people who are paid to understand us are struggling to answer right now.
The same is true of many Irish people living in other countries. They wonder if we have lost the plot back home. An acquaintance living in a continental European country emailed me in exasperation last week. His not-so-old mother, who lives here, is more frightened than she needs to be, he believes. He puts that down to the sort of media catastrophising that is not happening where he lives.
There, behaviour has changed and people are getting on with their lives. Masks are worn, but Covid is not the centre of every conversation.
The same is true further afield. My wife is Brazilian. That country has been much harder hit than Ireland, and we worry about her parents of course. But Brazilians are a resilient people. As my wife said at the start of the pandemic, they live with multiple deadly tropical diseases, venomous snakes and spiders, far more deaths on their roads than we do and a horrifyingly high murder rate. They have taken one more deadly threat in their stride.
Despite Ireland appearing to be doing better at limiting the spread of the virus than many other places, on Sunday night it emerged that the public servants on the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) had advocated closing down all non-essential businesses, among other things. Such a move would have put hundreds of thousands of people on to social welfare and killed off even more businesses. It would not be a stretch to say that this leak traumatised an already shaken nation.
Moving to the strictest level of lockdown would have been wildly disproportionate. The proposal has seriously damaged Nphet's credibility, which until that point had deservedly been strong.
Whatever credibility problems Nphet now has, they are as nothing compared with those individuals in the medical profession who still claim that Covid-19 can be completely eliminated from Ireland because it is an island. Other European islands which don't have borders, such as Malta, have given up on eliminating the virus. Iceland, which is smaller and more remote than Ireland, is experiencing a fresh outbreak.
The harsh reality is that we will have to live with the virus and limit its damage. The more reassuring aspect is that our continent is doing that quite well.
Twenty-four western European countries, including all the big ones, send their weekly number of deaths from all causes to Euromomo, an agency that scans the figures for signs of trouble. The latest data, up to the 39th week of the year, show nothing unusual in deaths taking place across the continent. That is a very different situation from last spring, when extra deaths across the continent were multiples of those seen in periods of bad seasonal flu in previous years.
The good news from Euromomo is that not even among the vulnerable elderly population is the number of deaths anywhere comparable to last spring's. The latest evidence shows that what we call cocooning, and others call shielding, is effective. It may not be perfectly effective, but it is helping prevent a repeat of last spring.
Ireland's obsession with Covid is all the more perplexing when one compares how relatively well this country is doing at the moment. Across the EU, less than one person in a million is dying each day from the disease, according to the European Centre for Disease Control. In Ireland, it is one in four million.
Of course, there is reason to be concerned. Spain has much higher rates and it is by no means impossible that we could follow suit. We need to continue compulsively washing hands, wearing masks and keeping our distance.
As to diplomats' questions about why we Irish catastrophise so much, it may be that a culture of dramatisation has taken hold in Ireland in recent times. Everything is a 'crisis', from housing to health. This, together with our tendency towards groupthink, may explain why catastrophism has taken hold. Whatever the reason, we need to calm down because obsessing is only adding to the strain of getting through this difficult time.