'Lockdowns cause poverty." That certainty was stated on Monday by David Nabarro of the World Health Organisation during an online discussion with the think tank I work for.
Tomorrow, the Government will decide on whether the restrictions designed to 'flatten the curve' of Covid-19 infection, will be eased, allowing more people to return to work.
Among the most important facts that is not being given enough consideration in this decision is the manner in which Covid-19 affects people of different ages.
It is clear from every country that it disproportionately affects older people and those with underlying health conditions. It is one of the few rock-solid pieces of information available that can help decision-makers in the hard choices they face.
According to Government figures on Covid-19, 13 people under 45 have died of the disease. There are three million people under 45 in the Republic.
The last time someone under 45 was reported to have died of the virus was on April 17, almost two weeks ago. This points to the measures taken to clamp down on the virus, along with voluntary changes to behaviour, having reduced the risk of dying from it for the younger half of the population.
Behaviour changes and shutdown have also contained the number of younger people being hospitalised and requiring intensive care. Since the last reported death of a person under 45, 99 people in that age group have needed hospital treatment to deal with the effects of the virus and 17 have gone into ICUs.
Many of the risks to health of the coronavirus remain unclear, but what is not in any doubt is that hundreds of thousands of people are now unemployed. That is not a risk, it is their current predicament.
The longer the economy is shut down, the longer it will be their predicament, and the more permanent it will become.
It has to be asked again and again if the Government's current approach to shutting the economy is proportionate for younger people. If they were to go about their lives and return to work, while maintaining all the precautions that the health experts advise, they would take a risk with their health. But how great would it be when set against the certainty of mass unemployment?
This question needs to be posed, discussed and addressed by medical experts so we can decide on what risks we are prepared to take individually and collectively.
There is a danger the question will not be confronted by the political class. Our political culture is conservative. It tends to follow other countries in big policy choices. Risky experiments are not favoured, something that may be reflective of society more generally.
Irish society is cohesive. That is reflected in its public sector, which responds well to crises and major challenges. But there is a thin line between group cohesion and groupthink.
Comments made privately to me by people with knowledge of Government policy formulation suggest that those whose views differ from the current position feel unable to voice them.
If there are signs of groupthink in Dublin, there were few signs of it at last Friday's meeting of European leaders. The heads of 27 EU governments were again discussing their collective response to the pandemic. It was billed as a 'make or break' moment for the EU. In fact, it was neither.
Unlike the only time when the EU really came close to breaking - during the 2010-12 euro crisis - financial markets are not threatening a run on any of the euro area members.
As the most senior Irish person in the European Commission civil service put it yesterday, the financial system now is part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Sean Berrigan was not uncritical of the EU's stance, but he made the valid point that there is a mismatch between what is expected of the EU and what powers it has to act in certain spheres.
The only EU institution which really matters at this point in the crisis is the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. It is doing what peer central banks are doing elsewhere - printing money.
It is assuring investors that there will always be a buyer for the government bonds they hold. As long as investors have that assurance, they will continue to lend to governments in the euro zone, from Ireland to Italy. If and when the ECB removes that assurance, the euro, and the wider EU, could indeed break apart.
What about the 'make' part of the make or break moment? Even if EU leaders had agreed to the issuing of joint IOUs, aka Coronabonds, it would not have transformed the EU into a better functioning entity or led to any material change in how the virus is being tackled across the continent.
The most warranted criticism of EU leaders is that they have wasted a lot of time during an emergency on a matter that was not an immediate priority.
That may have been reflected in an opinion poll on Irish attitudes to the EU this week.
It showed more than four out of five people wanted Ireland to remain a member, but that support had dropped to its lowest level since 2013.
Taken in late March, when leaders and finance ministers were highlighting their disagreements on Coronabonds, the poll found that 46pc of respondents didn't believe that the EU had responded well to the crisis. That is not surprising.