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Perspectives on Covid-19

Sophie Waldron
12 Mar 2020
We asked a few of speakers who are New Zealand’s top economists, renowned psychologists, wellbeing and resilience experts and business leaders to provide their perspective on the Covid-19 pandemic.
We hope this helps our event manager clients, and others seeking expert opinions and perspectives during this challenging time.
Please note: this article is dated at Thursday 12 March 2020. Stay tuned into the Resource Hub on our website as we receive further insights, updates and perspectives from our top speakers.

Dr Lucy Hone

Adjunct professor at the University of Canterbury and Director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience

While it’s natural and normal to feel concerned about Coronavirus right now, there isn’t any reason to panic. We don’t have an outbreak of Coronavirus in NZ. There is no community transmission in NZ and we hope that can continue as long as possible. The most sensible things we can do is to stay away from any public event if you’re not feeling well and self-isolate, and keep up to date using credible websites only such as the Ministry of Health which is being updated regularly. The response of certain media has been irresponsible inducing panic and anxiety. My advice is to watch your media diet - choose your sources of information very very carefully and don’t let your mental health get hijacked by sensationalist news and social media coverage.

Nigel Latta

Well-known Psychologist, TV presenter, author & documentary producer

Dealing with coronavirus is simple: Wash your hands often, sneeze and cough tidily (elbows or paper tissues), stay home if you’re sick, don’t be a racist idiot, don’t hoard unless you have an actual reason, and then just get on with your life. We all need to remember that doing the things we would normally do, just with a little more awareness, is important. That’s how all of us pay the bills.

A few tips:

  1. Don't get all stressed about media reporting of each new case. In all likelihood lots of Kiwis will get this thing. There's nothing surprising about that at all. Resist the tendency for reports of each new case to trigger more anxiety.
  2. The problem is humans aren't great at assessing risk. Most people hear "coronavirus" and immediately think "people are dying". It's more accurate to think "the overwhelming majority of people who get it (including older people) recover. A third experience no symptoms at all."
  3. The mortality rate charts doing the rounds can be alarming. Epidemiologists have said calculating accurate mortality rates is very complex. If a 1/3 of people experience no symptoms at all then a lot more people are infected than we know & mortality rates will likely go down.
  4. Panic-buying & hoarding is just plain dumb, and hurts those who need our collective help. Not everyone can afford to stockpile even if they need to. Some are just scraping by week to week. Let's not make it harder still for those people when they go to the supermarket and can't buy the staples because those of us who don't need to have emptied the shelves.
  5. Finally, constant earnest pronouncements of how serious it all is don't help. That makes us more stressed. Stress suppresses the immune system. Humour and calm bolster the immune system. So let's all lighten up a little. It's better for your health than doom and gloom.

Tony Alexander

Renowned New Zealand Economist

Covid-19 may cause a recession and will hit the travel industry hard. But with Kiwis likely to radically lift domestic holidaying, and sectors affected by China’s factory closures getting back to normal in perhaps 2 - 4 months, the shock to the business sector (outside tourism) could be short-lived. The strategic need to focus on staff skills and shortages, plus adjust to new operating environments and social pressures, remains unchanged.

Melissa Clark-Reynolds, ONZM, ChMInstD

Serial Tech Entrepreneur and Business Leader

Now that a global pandemic has been declared by WHO, "congregations" of people are going to be curtailed. This is the perfect time to roll out best practice virtual conferencing and collaboration tech. The good news is that it has never been cheaper or better. Companies who start having in house webinar, and virtual conferences with clients will get through this storm better than those who cancel everything.

If you would like more information on any of the speakers above, please chat to the team ([email protected] | +64 9 373 4177)

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