'If you had an option of throwing a life line, would you do it?" Tánaiste Simon Coveney's stark question sounded unsettling.
But the fact it had to be asked was profoundly disturbing.
He was critical of young people who are ignoring social distancing recommendations. Day in and day out, we are learning how the battle against this virus can only be fought with total co-operation.
There can be no weak link in the generational chain: society is made up of mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.
The survival of all is dependent on each other. There is a grim equality about this war: we all have the most to gain from success, and the most to lose from failure.
Social distancing recommendations have to be seen for what they are: matters of life or death.
They are not nanny state interferences that can be shrugged off without consequence.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid put the issue in the gravest terms imaginable. We are now entering an unpredictable and dangerous phase, he warned. "It's a war against a very silent and dangerous enemy. It's not one we can win with an army or armed forces but one we can win with the community."
Evidently a little impatient about constant questions on degrees of preparedness in emergency departments, Mr Reid reminded us the conversation should not be about ICU capacity.
It should more properly be about people doing exactly what they have been implored to do.
There are now only two camps, the caring and the careless.
And we know in which camp lies our best chance for seeing this through.
In less than two days, 40,000 people have registered on the Be On Call For Ireland website to volunteer to the health services.
The virus is relentless and lethal for the vulnerable.
The death toll in Italy rose by 627 to 4,032 yesterday.
The country has overtaken China to register the most deaths from the outbreak.
Extreme measures must be introduced and if necessary enforced.
To keep it out, we may have to keep in.
Experience shows that people pulling together, not organisations or government orders, get things done and ultimately prevail.
Depths of physical and emotional stamina will be drained in a way like never before.
Radical measurable changes in the way we act will not only be expected, but demanded.
Shifts in attitudes and behaviours are essential - the transformation may be exhausting but the luxury of choice is no longer ours.