AFQY Online 26 March: Behind the Scenes of the Covid-19 Crisis

04/03/2020

Jenene Crossan, Entrepreneur, and Shayne Hunter, Deputy-Director General, Data & Digital at Ministry of Health spoke at the AFQY Online Event 26 March and shared their perspectives and insights of what it's like behind the scenes of the ongoing crisis.

Written by Gemma McKenzie

At AFQY Online March 26th, Jenene spoke as a survivor of Covid-19, and Shayne spoke from a personal perspective (and not an official MOH perspective) about what the experience has been like and what's been happening during the last couple of weeks.

Watch the full event here! 

[35:11] Jenene Crossan, Founder at Powered by Flossie, 'Agent 37'

Jenene was case 37, the 37th person in New Zealand to test positive for Covid-19 but prefers to be called 'Agent 37', "I've adopted the name Agent 37... it just seems so much cooler than 'victim' or 'patient'." 

Known for many of her personal stories about being a founder, and well-being, she said, "I reckon I'm taking the founder, well-being title a bit far now... this is pretty much going to be the end of holding up everybody on well-being."

"What a fascinating time it has been in some ways, of seeing so many extraordinary people step up."

Crossan has been pretty open about her experience with Covid-19 on social media, and with news media. She said she's done that for a number of reasons: "One is to give people confidence that it's going to be okay, and two, how to get your kids to take it seriously as well because a lot of people are just sort of acting a lot like it was something that couldn't happen to them."

Jenene praised the number of people stepping up to pivot and take their businesses in a slightly different direction to help get people connected. 

"What a fascinating time it has been in some ways, of seeing so many extraordinary people step up."

The community spirit, she said, has just been extraordinary.

The team at Powered by Flossie are doing epic work and trying to keep an entire industry excited about what's going to happen next. 

"There's going to be a huge regrowth, as I'm calling it, in the hair and beauty industry..." Jenene said, referencing the number of people who are going to be racing to hair and beauty salons as soon as they are able.

This isn't forever... some of the amazing things that will come out of it will make us stronger, better people.

Jenene's closing point was a positive reminder that this isn't forever, "China's gone back to work and orders are coming back in... business as usual is coming back on, so this isn't forever but some of the amazing things that will come out of it will make us stronger, better people."

[54:21] Shayne Hunter, Deputy-Director General, Data & Digital at Ministry of Health 

Disclaimer: Shayne Hunter was speaking from a personal perspective, not from an official Ministry of Health perspective.

Shayne said it's been full on in his role over the last couple of weeks, "If you can see my eyes, they're looking a bit bloodshot."

"It's a bit like a movie at the moment, to be frank." 

"It's just the weirdest thing in the world, we can't see this thing coming but we are preparing for something and hoping that we can avert it. So it's a bit like a movie at the moment, to be frank."

He went from a typical maybe 20 phone calls a day and about 200 emails, to now getting 120-130 phone calls and about 750-800 emails a day.

Explaining a little about the structure that is sitting in government and in health at the moment

"We're [the National Health Coordination Center structure] not hierarchical, and hierarchy won't run this even though we need a bit of command and control, but people are forming hubs and spikes, and linking up."

"It's a really massive effort, people are leaning in where they can..."

Over a period of about the last two weeks (prior to March 26) the structure grew to around 140 people. There are another about 140 people in the National Crisis Management Centre that has been set up on top of that. As well as the operational function, being set up under the Police, that are trying to work on some of the operational logistics that the structures need to function.

"It's a really massive effort, people are leaning in where they can... huge offers of support from people that work out of the system but also government in general."

Shayne said there has been amazing support from people who just want to help. The biggest challenge in fact is trying to triage all the offers for help; to get onto those that can be really helpful now, and then work with those that are going to be helpful further down the track.

"What we're trying to do is make decisions as quickly as we can make the right ones, but not the wrong ones, but just accept we have to change." 

"I think it will settle down over the next couple of weeks as we get our head around what we need to operate and how we get some sort of a cadence."

"We certainly haven't got it perfect at the moment, we're kind of building this thing as we fly. What we're trying to do is make decisions as quickly as we can make the right ones, but not the wrong ones, but just accept we'll have to change."

Watch the full event video here!