There is no doubt that the economic impact of the tough new Level 3 social and economic restrictions for Dublin will be very serious, not just for the capital but for the entire national economy.

But there is no doubt either, that the economic impact of not acting decisively, would in the end, have been even worse. 

The facts, about where exactly the country has been heading, speak for themselves. 

Nationally, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is growing by five to seven per cent per day, with exceptionally strong growth in Dublin.

The 14-day incidence of the disease per 100,000 people nationwide is up 50% in the past week alone.  

The head of modelling for NPHET, Professor Philip Nolan, explained this week that we could have upwards of 1,000 new cases per day by the middle of October, with the majority of them in Dublin. 

Of course Dublin does have the highest incidence days of the disease over the past fortnight with 114.2 cases per 100,000 people. 

Co Louth, where the incidence has tripled in just one week, is second with 91.6 cases per 100,000 people. 

In Waterford the incidence rate has grown by 147% since last week and is now at 81 cases per 100,000 people. 

The infection rate in Dublin North West is three times higher and growing twice as fast as the national average. 

Seven out of eight Local Health Office Regions in Dublin now have disease incidence rate that are at least four times higher than the cut-off point for inclusion the safe travel green list.  

If all this were allowed to continue we would be trapped in a cycle of exponential growth in infections from the most deadly virus and public health threat in our lifetime. 

We have now seen 20 new deaths from Covid-19 reported in two-and-a-half weeks since the start of September.  

Three-quarters of those deaths occurred in community settings. That means those unfortunate victims were not treated in hospital as their chances of survival were so poor.

We have had 3,000 new cases of the virus over the past two weeks. Between 750 and 1,000 of them were acquired by "community transmissions", which basically means we cannot be sure where people acquired their infections.

Prof Nolan explained that social interaction in restaurants, gastropubs and similar settings could very well be driving those infections. 

He said that a person could pick up the infection during a social engagement involving a meal with a group in a hotel or restaurant.

The virus will then silently multiply within their bodies for three days before they become infectious to their family members, or start to show symptoms.

So it could be five days after the person picked up the infection before they test positive for the virus. At that point the authorities, who are totally focused on contact tracing and stopping the spread of the virus, inquire about who the person has met in the previous 48 hours.

They don't ask about the meal at the restaurant five days ago. As a result the case gets recorded as a community acquired infection and the infected family members are recorded as a Covid-19 outbreak or a household cluster.

But how did the virus get into the household in the first place? It was through the social outing in the restaurant in this example. 

This is why NPHET is so concerned about the dangers of indoor dining in restaurants while the virus is so rampant in Dublin.  

It is also why they recommended a ban on such activities for the next three weeks. They point to international scientific evidence and studies that back up their observations and concerns. 

The priority is to slow the spread of the virus.  

The Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn is asking that people everywhere take action now to prioritise their social interactions and engagements.  

He wants people to plan to see half as many people next week as they saw last week.  

In fact that is the overarching objective of the new Level 3 social and economic restriction measures introduced for Dublin - to get people to cut down on discretionary social contacts.  

If people cut those engagements down by 50% NPHET says the reproduction number for the virus will also fall by 50%.