An extraordinary story from the Financial Times in London and one that will almost certainly be replicated in many other countries as the true costs of the Covid-19 pandemic are weighed up in the coming months and years:
The coronavirus pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK, according to a Financial Times analysis of the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.
The estimate is more than double the official figure of 17,337 released by ministers on Tuesday, which is updated daily and only counts those who have died in hospitals after testing positive for the virus.
The FT extrapolation, based on figures from the ONS that were also published on Tuesday, includes deaths that occurred outside hospitals updated to reflect recent mortality trends.
Using this calculation, a conservative estimate of UK excess deaths by April 21 was 41,102.
Given increasing concerns on this side of the Irish Sea about the death toll in the wider community from the coronavirus it seems certain that our own official figures will be revised upwards when we finally enter the period of research rather than crisis management. And though there are perfectly legitimate criticisms to be made of the caretaker government and the authorities in general for their handling of the emergency, including the attempts by some Fine Gael ministers to dodge accountability for it in the Dáil, in general we can be grateful for a far better response by both the State and its citizenry than seen in some other regions of the world. Even if that partly came through the forewarning created by the health catastrophes that rapidly swamped our EU partners in Italy and Spain.
That said I suspect that the judgement of history will be less than kind to those political parties that opted to avoid the responsibilities of government since the inconclusive general election held in early February. And that the next general election, which may come earlier than expected, will throw up some more surprises.
Though hopefully not for the likes of the political degenerates who turned up in the Four Courts yesterday.