The RTÉ Investigates documentaries broadcast this week vividly brought home the human cost of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

With perhaps slightly less emotional drama, the Central Bank at the end of this week underlined yet again the very serious challenge Covid continues to pose for our economy.

Pictures of barber shop queues, hairdressers and restaurants across the country have echoed around social media since Monday, like stiff and noisy doors opening after a very long time. 

Money is a lubricant and it's badly needed.

One of the more interesting facts highlighted by the Central Bank is that there is quite a lot of money about, though. In fact, the Bank points out that, in April, there was a record €3.5 billion stashed away by households in deposit accounts. In May, another €1.5bn was squirreled away.

People normally save for two reasons: as a precaution when they are worried about the future and, less often, when they are prevented from spending it.

For many, the highlight of the Covid lockdown was a trip to the supermarket followed by a lot of on-demand TV. This is born out in all the data which has since come out on spending patterns over recent months. 

Spending on restaurants, travel and accommodation plummeted.

The big question is whether and how quickly our spending patterns will shift back to normal, now that restrictions are being lifted.

The potential for a massive rebound in spending is clearly there but social distancing measures will remain in place. 

It’s also worth restating the obvious: much will depend on the path of the virus. 

In other words, if people still feel there’s a threat to their health, they are much less likely to take that trip to their local pizzeria or weekend break to a hotel.

It’s a very uncertain time. These are the economics of mass psychology when challenged with an incurable threat to life.

In the meantime, there is the cost of dealing with Covid. That too became clearer this week.

Approximately €2.5bn in extra spending on health and business support schemes was voted through the Dáil this week. There was an acknowledgement that more will be needed later in the year, particularly in health. 

That is on top of an additional €6.8bn voted through at the end of May for additional expenditure by the Department of Social Protection. The cost of extending the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme into August will cost an extra €2bn on top of that.

The July stimulus plan for the economy is yet to be announced but is expected to be "substantial". Various groups and think tanks have said it needs to be in the region of €10-€15bn to have the required effect.

As the saying goes, a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking serious money.

There was some relief from the Exchequer figures this week, however, which showed another welcome (but a little perplexing) unexpected windfall from corporation tax. It’s now €1.7bn higher than last year. 

But it may mean little to most to hear that our deficit this year may not be as bad as €30bn. It will still be "greater" than €23bn, according to officials. And that means a lot of borrowing, even if it is at very low rates.

The direct cost of dealing with Covid has been massive so far, and unavoidable.

As parts of the economy creak back into life, attention will now turn to the July stimulus and the much more difficult decisions on the indirect cost of Covid to businesses and livelihoods.