The half-way point of 2020 is at hand. It is a good time to take stock of a year which nobody will forget in a hurry and one which will reverberate for a long time to come.
If there is good news right now it is that the world has flattened the Covid curve, as the chart above shows. Both new confirmed cases and deaths on a daily basis across the planet, according to data compiled by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), point to the pandemic being contained, for now at least.
Indeed, global deaths from the disease have actually declined from their peak. On April 16, when the coronavirus was tearing through Europe, just over 10,000 died of (or with) Covid across the world - the daily peak so far. In the week to last Friday, daily deaths averaged just over 5,000 a day worldwide. While there may be some inaccuracies in the figures, even the poorest countries have some system for counting deaths, so the halving of the daily death toll over the past two months is a real trend (which is not to say that it might not be reversed).
Just as within countries, aggregates can mask different trends across countries and regions. The headline figures are also likely to be underestimating the scale of the problem. As the disease has spread to low and middle-income countries - where health systems in general, and testing capacity in particular, are weaker - the scale of under-reporting is likely to be rising. But even with that significant caveat, the decline in deaths - which are less prone to counting errors than cases - gives cause for hope.
What has happened closer to home gives even more reason for hope. Europe has adapted to living with the virus. Having been the epicentre of the pandemic in April, when daily deaths peaked at more than 5,000 across the continent, by last week the death toll was down by 90pc, according to ECDC data.
The decline in new cases also augurs well. Despite a lot more testing catching more cases, the number of new cases across the continent on a daily basis is half what it was at the worst phase of the pandemic.
The success in containing the first - and hopefully the only - wave of the virus is one reason governments across Europe have cautiously lifted restrictions. Another reason is that the virus was less lethal than feared early on.
In March, the only comprehensive data on its lethality came from China. Given the nature of that country's regime, concerns were rife that the information from the Wuhan outbreak could have under-represented the scale of what had happened there.
The images and stories from northern Italy, the first major outbreak outside China, triggered panic among medics and governments across much of Europe. Lockdowns were imposed in most countries to prevent healthcare systems being over-run and deaths exploding.
Although it is still not exactly clear how lethal the virus is, data from across the world shows that only the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are at any real risk. That is reflected from the data here in Ireland.
More than 1,500 people have lost their lives since the pandemic struck four months ago. According to the Central Statistics Office, only eight of those who have died have been people under 65 years of age without underlying health conditions. In other words, 99.5pc of all deaths have been among identifiably vulnerable groups.
This conclusion is reinforced by the experience of healthcare workers, who account for one in three of the confirmed cases recorded in Ireland and whose bravery cannot be acknowledged enough.
The latest figures show that six healthcare workers have lost their lives. For reasons of confidentiality, the authorities cannot disclose whether these healthcare workers suffered from underlying conditions. The CSO did say, however, that "healthcare workers who died did not have different characteristics to the rest of the deaths".
This would reinforce the point that those who are at low risk of dying from the virus are at extremely low risk.
None of this is to say that we can all relax. Cases will almost certainly increase, in Ireland and across Europe, as human contact and activity increases. The risk of super-saturated hospitals has not gone away.
As such, it is entirely proportionate, for instance, that gatherings in enclosed spaces remain restricted - the Government's decision to allow up to 50 people to meet indoors could be a step too far, too soon. It is also one of the most likely to be reversed if the virus starts spreading again.
Nor have experiences of opening up been uniformly positive. Croatia, which had virtually eliminated the disease by late May, has seen more than 100 new confirmed cases over the last week. In the US, the last week has seen more alarming developments, with both new cases and deaths ticking up sharply over the past seven days.
But the evidence of most relevance to Ireland is our immediate neighbourhood, not least because travel with the continent is set to pick up sharply in the weeks ahead, while transatlantic flights will remain on a skeletal service for the remainder of the summer.
The experience of most of Europe after opening up has been broadly positive.
There has not been a second wave and, where outbreaks have occurred, they have been identified quickly and contained.
We all need to hope this state of affairs continues because the economic outlook is quite horrifying, something that may not be as widely understood as it could be.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund underscored this. It is now formally predicting that Europe will suffer a depression - defined as a contraction in output of more than 10pc.
That is a much sharper contraction than during the Great Recession or the euro debt crisis. It is also almost twice as big a slump as they anticipated just eight weeks ago when the fund's forecasters took their first shot at predicting the effects of the pandemic on economies around the world.
The same forecasters also believe the UK and the US, Ireland's other big economic partners, will suffer a similarly dire fate this year. Britain's economy is also expected to contract by a tenth, while the US is forecast to suffer shrinkage of 8pc.
Given the massive balance of risks all societies face, including protracted mass unemployment, the removal of most Irish restrictions at midnight tonight is a proportionate and appropriate move.