As the coronavirus pandemic pushes the world fast into the unknown, the public has turned to numbers for a guide.
Statistics have given some of the clearest pictures yet of the changes to health and the economy following COVID-19.
The federal agency delivering many of the figures has had to work at speed to collect them.
Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys are moving faster, taking weeks when they would usually happen over years.
Marcel van Kints, leading the agency's COVID-19 statistical taskforce, said senior officials met early in the crisis to decide what role the bureau could play in the pandemic.
One challenge was to keep pace with events and find sources of information to make up for potential barriers to its usual methods of collecting numbers.
"Things are changing so quickly. It's much different to what we've experienced over the last 30 years in Australia where there's very consistent growth and marginal change over time, and then you get this crisis and you're getting change within a month that's unprecedented," Mr van Kints said.
The bureau decided to release early some pre-existing statistical products, conduct surveys asking about the impacts of the pandemic, and look for new sources of data.
Mr Van Kints said one aim was to limit delays in providing statistics for other government agencies.
"When you've got information that's close to real time of what's happening, it allows the government and other policy agencies like the Reserve Bank of Australia to have that information on hand when they're making important decisions around policy formulation, support to business, any fiscal settings they might come up with," he said.
"So they're going to have that earlier and it's closer to what's actually happening in real time."
The bureau is providing more statistical products during the pandemic, including surveys measuring the impact of COVID-19 on businesses. It released 64 statistical products in April and May, which was a 21 per cent increase compared to the same two months last year.
Traffic to its website has grown during the crisis. It had 9.3 million page views in March and April, an increase of 34 per cent from the same point the previous year.
Data released early by the bureau, in April, reflected panic buying at supermarkets in revealing a record 8 per cent increase in retail sales. Other data showed the impact of Australia's border closure in a 99 per cent fall in overseas arrivals during April compared to one year ago.
Bureau officials have also investigated how the crisis has unfolded on a social level.
Household surveys branch program manager Michelle Marquardt is overseeing the project to survey households about the toll of the coronavirus.
The bureau worked with other government agencies and departments to decide the questions, and has surveyed a group of about 1000 respondents over the phone every fortnight.
Recent survey findings showed parents had changed their work arrangements to care for their children, including working from home (38 per cent), reducing or changing working hours (22 per cent), and taking leave from work (13 per cent).
It also found loneliness was the most widely reported source of personal stress.
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To keep pace with the pandemic, the surveys are shorter and the questions fewer. Questions aren't tested to make sure they're understood the same by everyone, as they are in non-crisis situations.
While the results give a less exact picture than the bureau's usual, longer surveys, they're useful for understanding a crisis unfolding quickly, Ms Marquardt said.
"It's absolutely fit for the time that we're in and it's probably something that we're hoping to be able to keep doing into the future because if another Global Financial Crisis comes along or a second wave, then this will still be useful to have something that we can turn around really quickly," she said.
Ms Marquardt, a bureau employee of more than 30 years, said she could not remember another time when it couldn't send people out to conduct surveys.
Early in the pandemic, the Bureau of Statistics also anticipated response rates among businesses could fall as some went into hibernation. It looked at other sources of data to make up for the potential barrier.
The agency has used single touch payroll data from the Australian Taxation Office to gather statistics about the state of the economy.
It also has an agreement with the big four banks to trial using aggregated, de-identified bank data, which is helping the bureau check the findings of its own business surveys.
While some bureau officials collect tables of data, others have encountered the stories behind them. The agency's public servants were among the federal bureaucrats redeployed to help Services Australia process welfare claims amid the economic shock of the pandemic.
Bureau project manager Andrew Howie said when the call out for volunteers arrived, it felt silly not to step forward. He rearranged his personal life so he could be redeployed to process claims in Tuggeranong, and received training.
"I'm really glad I did it. Part of why I wanted to do it was because sometimes we get these five or six tables, or 50 or 60 tables, and sometimes you don't see the story in there," he said.
Mr Howie said it was at times confronting seeing the personal hardships of people dealing with the economic damage of COVID-19.
"You read the personal circumstances of people and you've got to try and get that professional distance from it, and it's easy when you're looking at a table but then when you're looking at it as a person and then you're talking to the person, and getting that full story, it is a little bit more challenging," he said.
"You think you get it under control and then you get a new circumstance that you just didn't see coming."