The clue is in the name. It's the Government's 'Plan for Living with Covid-19'.

Unfortunately, "living with" and "Covid-19" are conflicting propositions.

The more that activity returns to normal, the more the virus spreads - which prompts more restrictions.

That is the cycle the political system now faces.

Ireland's policy on the virus has slowly shifted.

In spring, the then government shut down the country as much as possible to contain the pandemic.

Now Taoiseach Micheál Martin's administration is adopting a position that shuttering the economy and broader society is no longer an option.

Children need to go to school and businesses need to continue operating, as far as possible, although hospitality and the arts are exceptions and have been badly affected by restrictions.

The question is whether all arms of the State have entirely digested the idea of "living with Covid-19".

Some observers and opposition politicians criticised as unedifying Tánaiste Leo Varadkar's remarks about the National Public Health Emergency Team on RTÉ's Claire Byrne Live last Monday.

His comments illustrate a frustration at the heart of Government.

Medical advice is driven by the motivation to keep everyone safe and the Level 5 restrictions advocated by NPHET would be tantamount to an unacceptable "shut down", according to Mr Martin.

It's something Fine Gael, the Greens and Fianna Fáil are not prepared to do. Not now anyway.

When NPHET proposed moving to the most severe level of restrictions, Mr Varadkar said: "None of those people [in NPHET], for example, would have faced being on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment yesterday."

None of them "would have to tell somebody that they were losing their job, and none of them would have had to shut their business for the last time".

He said: "And I'm not talking about the economy, I'm talking about something that could have happened to half a million human beings tomorrow, and sometimes the reason and why politicians make these decisions, is because we're the ones who can see the bigger picture."

That bigger picture is the crux of the matter. The State's medical advice is pulling the Cabinet in one direction but the interests of children's education, non-Covid-19 healthcare and the economy is pulling it in another.

Politically, the Government crossed a Rubicon by not following the advice of NPHET, instead moving to a lower level of nationwide restrictions than recommended.

The virus is going to be with us for a protracted period and the new policy is a balancing act: keeping as much of the country open as possible, while trying to limit the spread of the disease.

Ireland is going to run a deficit of about €21bn this year - the gap between what the State collected in income and what it spent on hospitals, schools and other public services.

A lot of the spending was generated during the initial shut down of the economy as thousands lost jobs.

Now a series of policies have re-orientated the State towards a limited version of normality, despite the renewed spread of the virus.

People can no longer apply for mortgage payment breaks from banks, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has been reduced, and the Government introduced a stay-and-spend scheme for hospitality despite severe curtailment of pubs, restaurants and hotels.

Add to that list the substantial stimulus plan of €7.4 billion which was announced in July to help get people back to work.

It's worth remembering unemployment is still a very high 15% and will remain at 10% next year, according to estimates.

The coming week will see the Government sketch out the landscape for next year when it unveils its Budget.

It will tell a lot about how much the State plan to intervene in sectors which never required public money before.

This week, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced the Government would use the State's aptly named Rainy Day Fund of €1.5bn to fund part of Budget.

Nobody argued it wasn't an appropriate use of the money.

The following day, the body that manages Ireland's growing national debt raised the same amount from international investors.

Remarkably €1bn of that money was borrowed at negative interest rates - in other words, the investors paid Ireland money for the privilege of lending to the country.

This is the topsy-turvy world of Covid-19 economics, where normal borrowing rules have been suspended by the EU, while the European Central Bank is printing money and interest rates remain at zero.

But that can't last forever.

At some point, investors will see Ireland has made very limited progress in tackling its €200 billion national debt since the financial crisis.

When that happens, the interest rate on our borrowings will creep upwards and the Government will be bounced into taking action to curtail the deficit (in other words, either raising taxes or reduced spending or both).

In the meantime the economy, society, politicians and Ireland's top public health experts will have to learn to live with Covid-19.