The sad announcement of the first coronavirus death here coincides with the declaration of a global pandemic.
The grim consequences of its spreading are taking hold and reconfiguring all facets of life.
Declaring a pandemic is charged with major political and economic ramifications.
It is worth noting this virus was unknown just three months ago and has now spread to more than 121,000 people across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.
Health concerns must now take precedence regardless of temporary disruption. The prospect of closing schools, remote working, temporary lay-offs, flight cancellations and the niceties of "social distancing" will have to be confronted.
The virus shows scant respect for the chasms of political division, even forcing Civil War foes Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to bridge a gap.
The talks to form a government take place against a grim backdrop but their historic significance should not be understated.
If ever there was a moment for coming together surely it is now. Only a maximum all-island effort can minimise the spread of infections.
Vigilance against the outbreak cannot weaken.
Even as the storm hits we can reassure ourselves that this too will pass.
With calm assurance and ruthless prevention measures, we can rigorously contain the threat, learning from the mistakes of others.
Quarantines and travel restrictions are a very small price to pay in a context of such unquantifiable risk.
Unprecedented demands will be made on families struggling to handle both their child-rearing and work commitments.
Financial institutions will be required to show flexibility and the Government will have to find innovative ways to cushion the blow business will take from the financial shock.
It would be irresponsible to believe any age group is exempt from a threat, which should be taken seriously by all.
It would be equally reckless to create scarcity in shops by buying up everything in sight; retail therapy is no inoculation.
Whatever other shortage we may have to deal with, the one thing we can rely on is that there is no scarcity in our ability to pull together in an emergency.
If we need proof of this, one need only look to the doctors and nurses and carers going to work as usual.
They too have families and loved ones but as when fire-fighting is required, the fire-fighters will still run into the burning building when our impulse is to run away.
Just about every facet of our existence is about to be tested.
First and foremost, whatever the financial fallout, this is fundamentally a people crisis. The saving and protection of life must be our primary focus.
All other sacrifices and costs must be seen as secondary to keeping each other safe.