So sharp are the drops and spikes, so large are the numbers, that it can be hard to grasp just what the relentless stream of grim economic figures in recent weeks really means.

It’s a cliché, but behind every bad number are firms that have given up the ghost, or business owners who’ve had to make very tough decisions, or a newly unemployed mum or dad wondering how they’re going to support their family.

And every indicator I’ve seen suggests that, even with support schemes extended and lockdown easing, there is worse to come – particularly on the jobs front.

It’s a sobering thought. And it underlines, as if it was needed, that this is as much an economic crisis as a public health one. Indeed, the two are intrinsically linked, with the experience in our former industrial communities in particular reminding us that the former precipitates the latter.

But, grave as the situation is, it’s not hopeless.

We do have options. As the latest Federation of Small Businesses report on the issue makes clear, there are actions we can take that, if we get them right, will stop the direst of the predictions coming to pass.

The first call that needs made is around how we support those parts of the economy that have the longest, toughest journeys back. Industries like tourism and hospitality – crucial, not just to the Scottish economy as a whole, but literally the lifeblood of many smaller, more fragile communities – will need long-term support.

But we won’t be able to afford that support unless we get those sections of the economy that can now operate safely back to business.

That could give us the headroom to relax, or at least reduce the cost of, the blanket intensive support and refocus resources on those in most need.

The First Minister’s announcement last week on moving to the next phase of unlocking was welcome as far as it went. However, those who spent time and money getting ready for a restart they believed was imminent have been left frustrated. And their sections of the economy remain dormant.

There’s also a job to be done to reassure the public, customers and employees that it’s safe to go about their business.

Caution was of course the right message at the height of the crisis, but we’ll now need government to help us build public confidence. We need to be clear: getting out there and spending money is doing our bit to get the country back on its feet.

Then there’s the schools. Employees can’t get back to work while still home-schooling. And businesses can’t open without staff. Just like those taking on the huge logistical challenge of getting the kids back in August, working parents need to know now what sort of model is being implemented. That requires a firm decision.

And it’s not just about schools. Private nurseries, who can’t freely tap into the expertise and resources of the wider public sector, will need support and advice on how to adapt.

A further choice is what we do with large sums already earmarked for projects that perhaps reflect pre-crisis priorities rather than today’s. Rather than, for example, funding the sort of big capital projects put forward in the city region deals, is there more value in investing in our towns and high streets to help them recover?

We can’t pretend that any of these choices is easy, or that any option – including the option to maintain the status quo – is risk-free. But, for so long as we have options, we have some control.

Colin Borland is director of devolved nations for the Federation of Small Businesses.