Design is vital in a crisis; without it, we make mistakes, risk lives, and ultimately, waste valuable time that we don't have. But making the voice of design – and user needs – heard at a time when everyone around us is sacrificing speed for haste can be difficult. In a rush, there's no time for 'strategy'.
The whole situation reminds me of a phrase my dad is a fan of in a rush - "more haste less speed", or in the more planned version of this scenario "measure twice, cut once"- he's into his DIY. In other words, if you want to get something done at speed don't rush; think things through, do your research, prototype (quickly) test, but ultimately, don't goddam panic and build something that doesn't work. Rushing just gives you a false sense of progress and doesn't help anyone. In fact, it's a waste of time, and time is one thing you don't have a lot of.