Generally, most of us can read the writing on the wall, the problem is we tend to believe it is addressed to someone else. And so we find ourselves retracing our footsteps into somewhere none of us wanted to go - a return to lockdown.
As Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "The evidence is that a large number of people are acting as if the virus is no threat to them, or that it's OK to take a few more risks."
It seems extraordinary that, with so many dire warnings from public health experts telling us combating Covid-19 requires universal public compliance, we should be going backwards in a war we must win.
The calls to keep out of the office and off public transport sound extreme.
They are not. They are what is required to arrest the advance of a deadly enemy.
This is not a contest between young and old, or the fit and infirm. Those who do not feel threatened could still be a threat to someone else.
We will only regain a foothold in normal life when we present a united front.
"I must do something" is a far more effective driver of action than a declaration "something must be done".
Advocacy groups for older people have smarted at the new restrictions, claiming they are disrespectful and older people are being punished.
People who are most susceptible to infection get exposed first. We are striving to keep each other safe. The measures, however unpopular, are not being imposed by the Government - they are being imposed by the resurgence of the virus.
We are surging to the top of the list for the incidence of Covid-19 in Europe.
Acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn said the situation is of significant concern.
The fresh suite of restrictions will provoke resentment, but we have a stark choice. Either we deal with this emergency or it deals with us.
Testing must be stepped up and at an accelerated pace, We must also be extra vigilant when socialising with our friends and family.
As Dr Glynn said, these curbs aim to achieve a balance between enjoying life and behaving responsibly.
The rise in cases across Europe in the last couple of weeks has caused alarm among some virologists and politicians.
As German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, now was not the time to let up.
"The good news is if we stick to the rules, a lot of public life is possible," she said.
This is the time to use scientific methods to address what is happening.
The pandemic's patterns show human behaviour is key.
This is not a State crusade moralising against indulgences. It is about taking sensible precautions, at a critical moment before we lose control.
The gardaí may have extra powers, but far better we police our own actions. It really is still in our own hands.