The first three months of this year will go down in history as a time of extraordinary upheaval, with the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world. This dislocation affected all of society and, as a consequence and almost by definition, all of the economy – here in Ireland as well as in most other countries around the world. The pandemic has tested the policy system and underscored the importance of that elusive variable, ‘state capacity’, in determining societal outcomes. A number of countries – including the United States – have been more severely affected by the pandemic. The public health emergency in the US becoming something almost partisan, reflecting wider societal splits and ultimately more limited state capacity than one may have expected from what was the leader of the world economy and world economic policy for much of the last century.