If anything was going to drive the pandemic shock home, it was going to be unemployment numbers. They came out yesterday and put the mass unemployment of the financial crisis in perspective.
Close to one-third of a million people are dependent on the State as the spread of coronavirus closed businesses and forced workers to stay at home, bringing the unemployment rate to an eye-watering 16.5pc of the workforce.
That number has grown far more rapidly than expected and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has pencilled in 600,000 job losses as the likely lower end compared with an earlier estimate of 400,000 layoffs.
The most important things to remember are that Ireland is not experiencing this in isolation and that this is not a re-run of the shocks experienced in the financial crisis.
On the same day the Central Statistics Office published the jobless numbers, 6.6 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment claims, the third week in succession in the world's largest economy, while Canada lost a million jobs in March alone.
Unlike the recent financial crisis where shock originated in the mortgage sector and caused a prolonged recession as the banks de-leveraged over a period of years, the hit to the economy from the pandemic is the shock in itself.
It has led governments across the world to deliberately freeze economic activity to prevent people from becoming sick and to stop health systems from being overwhelmed.
All together, more than two billion people are living under some form of lockdown.
That means policy responses in Ireland and elsewhere are radically different from the ones in response to the crisis that started in 2008.
Usually, unemployment benefits try to help people through an unexpected job loss and act as a form of insurance without reducing incentives to work.
Our current circumstances are anything but normal.
We need to be able to pull out of an immediate stop on economic activity if we want to avert a prolonged recession.
Increased benefits under the pandemic programme not only make economic sense, but also focus on low-wage workers who have been ignored when it comes to making policy. What Ireland has put in place with its Pandemic Unemployment Payment (Pup) of €350 a week and its Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to subsidise up to 70pc of the net wages of employees whose employers are severely affected by the pandemic, up to €410 per week, is broadly in line with best practice across the European Union.
In an ideal world, governments want to ensure people not only have money coming in to live, but also to maintain links to their employers.
This approach has its origins in Germany's long-standing "kurzarbeit" policy and enables firms suffering in a downturn.
Across the five largest eurozone economies, at least 15 million workers are likely to be on a short-time work scheme.
If all of those people had instead been made unemployed, that would have caused the jobless rate to more than double to over 16pc, according to consultancy Capital Economics.
"The Covid payment is very generous and there is good reason for that because this is people who are losing their jobs and there are not any other job opportunities around in the short term," said Karina Doorley, an economist at the ESRI.
For some workers at the bottom end of the pay scale, there is an incentive to opt for the Pup programme over the one where they remain "employed", but that argument rather misses the point of the emergency spending being undertaken by the Government at the moment.
"The Pup was introduced at a flat rate so that it was easy to administer and quick," said Ms Doorley.
Without the support for families, there would not be an economy to resuscitate when the pandemic restrictions were lifted. To be sure, there will be a reckoning that will likely at some stage involve a mixture of higher taxes and spending cuts, depending on what kind of society we want after this is all over.
Based on 600,000 people being out of work and dependent on the Government for their wages, the ESRI estimates the combined support schemes will cost €4.5bn every three months, once the cost of State spending and loss of revenues from income and other direct taxes is tallied.
The French government estimates its scheme will cost €11.5bn and estimates by Germany for its "kurzarbeitergeld" scheme are in a similar ballpark. If anything, governments are going to take the view payments are likely to become more generous and broader in scope. The question that may emerge at the end of this is not whether the benefits paid during the lockdowns were too large or too indiscriminate, but whether we can continue with such low levels of pay for so many workers.