This week, tens of thousands of hard working people will find themselves grappling with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

People working in the travel industry as well as pubs and catering will face lay-offs.

Meanwhile healthcare workers, farmers, food producers and others will probably find themselves working even harder than before to directly battle the pandemic and provide essential services.

The supply and demand for goods and services and how they are paid for is normally how economies work. But this is not a normal time. And neither is it a time for normal economics.

Welcome to the Covid-19 economy.

Last night, the US Federal Reserve - which has enormous power over the value of the world's predominant currency, the US dollar - turned the financial taps to full blast.

It slashed interest rates and announced it would be diving into the open market to buy up US Treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities to the tune of $700 billion.

It also announced it would relax the rules around how much commercial banks are required to hold in reserve.

It did all this to ensure that credit, that essential lubricant of economic activity, would not seize up as companies and countries close down and concentrate on fighting the pandemic.

The stock markets responded by continuing their tailspin downwards.

Why? Because when normal commerce closes down, practically free credit can only help so much. It’s really important but it’s only part of the new Covid-19 economy.

Something else needs to happen.

It's time to put the popularity of market-based solutions away for a while because big chunks of the market have closed down. It’s time to welcome back the unfashionable but crucial role of the State.

You can see this beginning to happen. At home, the Government has already set aside additional money for sick pay allowances. Now it’s going a step further with its refund scheme for employers forced to close as part of the effort to battle the coronavirus. It may end up having to do even more.

The latest Labour Force Survey from the CSO showed that at the end of last year, just under 180,000 people were employed in accommodation and food service activities.

There are many thousands more employed in the aviation sector.

If the shutdown of pubs and general downturn from social distancing has a corresponding impact on jobs, then we will see tens of thousands of people becoming dependent on the social welfare system.

The €2.4 billion the Government initially set aside for sick pay provision in cases of self-isolation may not be adequate depending on the depth and duration of the virtual shut down of parts of the economy.

The European Commission announced last week it will relax its strict budgetary rules when it comes to the money governments spend or borrow to spend on fighting the coronavirus. This is another big change.

'Rules’ on government spending now seem like esoteric etiquette from another solar system. But it captures the essential point of where we’re at: the rules have changed. Governments are now in control, hopefully for all our better sakes.