How to live with Covid-19 will remain the central question in everyone's life for the foreseeable future. As such, it is vital that we are aware of the risks we face. Let's begin with two facts from the State's official figures on the disease.
Not a single baby or child under the age of 15 has died of the virus in the State. This fact should provide some considerable reassurance as schools gear up to reopen.
A second highly relevant fact is that of the tens of thousands of confirmed cases, and the potentially hundreds of thousands of people who have had Covid-19, eight deaths have taken place of people under 65 years of age who have no underlying health conditions. The Central Statistics Office confirmed this fact to your columnist this week.
Ireland's experience of the disease in terms of its deadliness is in line with the rest of the world. Covid-19 is a very serious illness for those who are vulnerable to it - the elderly and the unwell - and it may cause long-term health damage to those who contract it.
It also retains the potential to cause the hospital system to be overrun in the months and even years ahead. Mercifully, only a small number of places around the world have reached that point, but the risk of such a scenario warrants changes in how we all behave all of the time.
Among the more radical changes in how we combat the virus has been the suggestion that we seal the island of Ireland off from the rest of the world.
It is just about possible that this will prove to be the solution - uncertainty abounds when it comes to Covid and almost everything about it - but the idea was dealt a blow this week when New Zealand announced new cases and a return to restrictions on movement.
Prior to Tuesday's news from the remote Pacific island nation, it had been held up as the example to follow by those advocating crushing the curve. It had gone more than 100 days without a new case and has had very few deaths. This is attributed to a collapse in international arrival numbers and the obligation that anyone entering the country spend 14 days in a government quarantine facility at their own expense. Those who advocate following the Kiwis' lead say that eradicating the disease is not only good for people's health, it is also the best economic option. The latter claim is dubious.
The International Monetary Fund believes New Zealand's economy is on course to shrink by more than Ireland's in 2020.
Sealing a country's borders comes with massive costs in today's globalised world. Ireland is much more connected to the rest of the world than New Zealand - with trade in goods alone four times greater, according to World Bank data. Although New Zealand has not halted trade with other countries, and nobody is advocating that in Ireland's case, the Kiwi option would be much costlier in economic terms because so much more of the Irish economy depends on movement of people into and out of the country.
Quite apart from the unlikelihood of both jurisdictions on this island agreeing to much tighter restrictions on freedom of movement, there is also another question about New Zealand's approach. Even if it is successful in containing the new outbreak and suppressing the virus totally, how long can it keep itself sealed off from the world? If no effective vaccine is available next year, does the policy continue, potentially for years? The worst possible outcome for New Zealand would be to isolate itself for an extended period of time, only to arrive at a point at which no vaccine has been found and then have to face what other countries have already gone through.
Rather than taking such a radical approach - which I believe would be disproportionate to the scale of the current threat - we need to hold our nerve. The most serious mistake during the initial wave of infection, and one made in many countries across the world, was to allow panic about hospitals being overrun to blind those making decisions about the places where vulnerable people are gathered - retirement and nursing homes.
The world has learned that lesson, explaining, in part at least, why places that have a full-blown second wave, such as the US, have seen fewer deaths than during the first wave - in April, at its peak, almost 5,000 Americans died of the virus on a single day. Over the past few weeks deaths have tragically increased, but they remain nowhere near the April peak, and that is despite far more confirmed cases.
In this country, the number of cases has moved in the wrong direction over the past couple of weeks, largely as a result of outbreaks in food plants in the midlands. The Government's decision to focus restrictive measures on the three counties involved - Kildare, Laois and Offaly - was a move in the right direction. But it does not go far enough in targeting the most vulnerable people and places.
The numbers admitted to the State's hospitals each day with Covid has ranged from zero to three since mid-June. There has been no increase in hospitalisations despite an uptick in confirmed cases.
There is likely to be an increase in the weeks to come, owing to lags between contracting the disease and getting sick enough to need hospital care, but the much younger profile of people contracting it means that the dangers are limited.
Ultimately, and as has been clear for some time, we will need to take risks as we live with the virus.
For entire societies to lock down repeatedly or indefinitely is disproportionate to the (very real) threat the virus poses. Those at low risk of falling ill or dying need to get back to work while taking all recommended precautions.
If that does not happen, the health and societal consequences of the economic depression currently being experienced could quickly come to exceed the health consequences of Covid.