Don Hudson

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  1. Coronavirus Australia live news: Victorians ditch face masks outside and welcome eased COVID-19 restrictions

    By Michael Doyle and Yasmin Jeffery

    Posted 2hhours ago, updated 2hhours ago
    Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
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    Victoria records no new coronavirus cases or deaths for 24 days

    Posted 1hhour ago, updated 21mminutes ago

    A woman jogs along a path with Melbourne's city skyline in the background.
    Victoria hasn't recorded a new case of coronavirus for more than three weeks.(ABC News: Darryl Torpy)

    Victoria has recorded no new cases of coronavirus or deaths for the 24th day in a row, the state's health department says.

    Key points:

        The health department says 7,261 tests have been received since the last update
        Epidemiologist Tony Blakely says Victorians should feel confident they've eliminated the virus
        The Victoria-New South Wales border has reopened meaning travellers don't have to quarantine

    One case remains active in the state.

    The Department of Health and Human Services said 7,261 tests had been received since the last update.

    Melbourne University epidemiologist Tony Blakely said Victoria was edging closer every day to eliminating the virus.

    "Twenty-eight days is the official or working definition (of elimination) and that will happen on Thursday or Friday depending on how you count it and that will be our celebration of elimination day," Professor Blakely said.

    "What we’ve also learned is that we have to expect that it will get back in at some point between now and when we get the vaccine but we’re learning to live with this virus and stamp it out."

    Professor Blakely said Victorians should feel confident it had eliminated the virus, even though the number of people getting tested had dropped.

    He said the widespread sewage testing being carried out would identify any areas where there may be active cases.

    "Most of the results that come up at the moment will be what we call 'false positives' and that’s because we don't think there is any community transmission out there, so any positive tests are likely to be someone infected a long time ago, shedding."
    LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Victoria-NSW border reopens

    Travellers have begun taking advantage of the reopening of the New South Wales-Victoria border, which has been closed for four-and-a-half months.

    The border officially opened at 12.01am, meaning people no longer have to go through two weeks of quarantine.
    Want more local news?
    Flinders Street Station

    We offer tailored front pages for local audiences in each state and territory. Find out how to opt in for more Victorian news.
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    Mark Nochete is a registered nurse who is returning to NSW this morning for the first time in months.

    "I came in August to help out with all the COVID in the nursing homes and now I can go back without quarantine," he said.

    Mr Nochete said he heard some horror stories about the NSW hotel quarantine arrangements and was happy to avoid being confined for two weeks.

    "Some colleagues, they did quarantine in Darwin just to avoid New South Wales quarantine," he said.
    A photo of Lesley Lees at Melbourne Airport.
    Lesley Lees is happy she can now visit her sick father in Victoria without having to go through two weeks of quarantine.(ABC News: Stephanie Ferrier)

    Lesley Lees has been in Victoria visiting her father, who is recovering from coronavirus, and was glad she didn't have to go through a fortnight of hotel quarantine when she returns to NSW.

    "Obviously now I can come and visit my father when I need to without having to worry about when I can get home," she said.

    Ms Lees was expecting bigger queues at Melbourne Airport this morning, given how long many people had waited for the border to reopen.
    What you need to know about coronavirus:

        The symptoms
        The number of cases in Australia
        Global cases, deaths and testing rates


  2. From the rest of the meeting in Edmonton


    Dozens speak against Edmonton's mask bylaw at city hall meeting


    'This is fear-mongering here,' one speaker said

    CBC News
    Posted: November 13, 2020
    Last Updated: November 13, 2020

    Laurel's on Whyte An employee at a shop off Whyte Avenue wears a face covering at work. (Sam Martin/CBC)

    City councillors got a steady stream of criticism at a community and public services committee Friday about the city's move to extend its face-covering bylaw. 
    City administration is asking council to extend the bylaw until May, as the current one expires Dec. 31.  
    By Friday afternoon, more than 112 people signed up to speak in front of the committee, but only 49 showed up virtually to give their opinion.
    The ones who joined the meeting spoke, sometimes harshly, against the mandatory measure.
    Melissa Dempster said she can't wear a mask and people have confronted her in public. 
    "This mask bylaw has done nothing but create anger, fear, judgment and division among the people of this city," Dempster said. "Do you have any idea how scary it is to go out in the city now?" 
    Dempster did not say why she doesn't wear one.
    Other speakers said they believe mandating masks is a violation of human rights and created an environment of discrimination. 
    Several are convinced wearing masks has caused more harm than good and that the science behind the pandemic is flawed, dismissing the efficacy of face coverings to curb the spread of the virus. 
    Health authorities and experts have repeatedly stated that mask wearing is critical to limiting the spread of COVID-19. This month, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam updated her guidance to recommend the use of three-layer non-medical masks. 
    Jodie Foster said she believed the city and media were misrepresenting the case numbers. 
    "This is fear-mongering here," Foster said. "It's so wrong what they're doing to people." 
    On Friday, Alberta reported 907 new cases of COVID-19 — marking the second time the province has reported over 900 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day. 
    On Thursday, the province reported 10 deaths, which was the most for a single day in Alberta since the pandemic began. There have now been 398 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the province.
    Some speakers at the meeting called the entire pandemic a hoax and a lie. Earlier this year, Canadian researchers found conspiracy theories about COVID-19 were spreading at an alarming rate across the country — and warned misinformation shared online may lead to devastating consequences and could push Canadians to shun important safety measures.
    Pathologist Dr. Roger Hodkinson, CEO of Western Medical Assessments — a company that conducts medical examinations for lawyers and insurance adjusters — called the mask bylaw and reaction to the pandemic "simply outrageous."
    "This is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public," Hodkinson told the committee. 
    Toward the end of the meeting, several people were still waiting to speak, so the committee extended its 5:30 deadline until everyone who wanted — could have their turn.
    Chair of the committee, Aaron Paquette, remained diplomatic and thanked people for their suggestions. 
    "The people who've been waiting all day should have an opportunity to speak today," Paquette said. 
    Mike Nickel, one of three councillors who voted against the mandatory mask move, insisted the committee set another day to hear more speakers. 
    "I will not be satisfied with closing off speakers today."
    Jon Dziadyk and Tony Caterina also voted against the bylaw that went into effect Aug. 1.
    The committee agreed to schedule another meeting for Nov. 19 to hear from the public. 
    "We want to hear from everyone, and that is also why we scheduled another day," Paquette said.


  3. Caroline Mimbs Nyce headshot

    Caroline Mimbs Nyce

    Senior associate editor


    The picture is grim as is. Please consider canceling your holiday plans.


    The COVID-19 Outbreak



    More than 1,000 American hospitals report that they don’t have enough staff to manage the influx of coronavirus patients.

    That’s 22 percent of hospitals in the U.S..

    This frightening statistic, courtesy of my colleague Alexis C. Madrigal, is a quantitative summary of the horror story already unfolding. Nationwide, beds are filling. So are body bags. Health-care workers are scared.

    “It keeps rising and rising, and we’re all running on fear,” one told Ed Yong.

    A change is coming; vaccines look promising. But relief appears to be at least another season away. In the meantime, our writers have some practical advice for Americans.


    • Like 2
  4. More than a dozen tents were pitched in Peace Arch Park Monday, however, residents in the area said up to 85 were spotted in the park on Sunday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

    More than a dozen tents were pitched in Peace Arch Park Monday, however, residents in the area said up to 85 were spotted in the park on Sunday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

    ‘It looked like Woodstock’: More than 85 tents pitched in Peace Arch State Park Sunday

    Despite B.C. health orders limiting gatherings, many still exploiting border ‘loophole’

    “It looked like Woodstock,” a nearby resident told Peace Arch News Monday.

    Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry held a rare Saturday press conference Nov. 7, where she announced a provincial health order restricting people from gathering – outdoors or indoors – with people outside of their immediate household in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.

    The order, it seems, was of little concern to Canadians who wished to visit Americans on the U.S. side of Peace Arch Park.

    “It’s utter chaos,” resident Jim Purdon told Peace Arch News Monday. “And this has been an ongoing saga for months and months and months.”

    This is complete BS! We are following Dr Bonnie’s lock down rules but this crap can happen? Canadians jump a ditch to US side of Peace Arch Park. No customs checks, and NO QUARANTINING? ⁦@DrBonnieHenry⁩ ⁦@sophielui⁩ ⁦@keithbaldrey⁩ ⁦⁦

    — Jana Anderson (@J_Anderson66) November 8, 2020

    The park, on the Canadian side, has been closed as a safety measure to prevent large gatherings in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic declaration in March.

    But the State Park, on the U.S. side, has remained open through the summer and fall, providing a daily site for camping, wedding parties, family reunions and celebrations of all kinds.

    The U.S. leads the world in the number of COVID-19 cases with more than 10 million. The country is also home to the most deaths, with 238,000 and counting.

    As of Monday, Washington State has had 117,331 confirmed cases of COVID-19. British Columbia has had 18,714 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

    RELATED: ‘Loophole’ allows U.S.-Canadian citizens to continue to meet at Peace Arch Park

    Visiting the park as a Canadian is considered by many to be a loophole. It’s one of the few, if not only, locations where Canadians can meet Americans without going through customs.

    Nearby resident John Kageorge said the number of tents in the park has been steadily growing since the border was closed.

    “It was as if Dr. Bonnie Henry’s words were never uttered,” Kageorge said when asked to describe the park Sunday.

    “The park was over the brim with people as it has been with all weekends since June. It seemed as if there was no request for everyone to stay out of group gatherings.”

    “People that are accessing that park don’t seem to really care.”

    Asked about enforcement of Canadians returning from the park, Henry said she often hears from people with concerns.

    “As you know, there are people who monitor that park, the border itself is a federal jurisdiction and I know that they have enhanced patrols in that area. I’m not aware of any cases related to people meeting outdoors at that park,” Henry said.

    Since the onset of the pandemic, the traffic along 0 Avenue has been a point of frustration for nearby residents. Parking spaces are at a premium, and some residents have raised concern about the virus.

    RELATED: South Surrey woman upset at being told to quarantine after ‘two-minute visit’ in Peace Arch Park

    “How people can drive from wherever, park their cars, walk over there, spend the day there with Americans and come back. Nobody’s isolating or anything like that. It’s a loophole that nobody seems to want to touch,” Purdon said.

    In September, police increased patrols in the area but did not institute a new policy or specific campaign.

    While it’s not recommended, people are allowed to mingle in the park because the U.S. has left the State Park open. However, RCMP officers waiting on the Canadian side can instruct a returning Canadian to report to CBSA.

    The CBSA can, and has, subjected returning Canadians to a 14-day quarantine, regardless of how long the person spent in Peace Arch Park.

    CBSA told PAN last month that all travellers seeking entry into Canada, “no matter where or what mode of entry,” must report to CBSA and may be subject to quarantine measures.


  5. Alert - 20201113

    Victoria has posted a full fortnight with no new coronavirus infections or fatalities.

    The state’s 14th day in a row without confirmed cases came as state borders were again expected to be high on the agenda at Friday’s national cabinet meeting.

    Victoria has only three remaining active cases, and only one whose origin cannot be traced.

    COVID cases have plummeted across the country in recent weeks. NSW also confirmed another day without community acquired infections on Thursday. It had only a single new infection in a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

    “What we have achieved is incredible,” federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said ahead of the NSW confirmation.

    “Today the early advice that I have is that NSW is on track to have zero cases, matching what Victoria is doing. Australia may well be on track for another zero case day of community transmission.”

    Amid the plunging numbers, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to advance plans to reopen Australia by Christmas.

    Tweet from @VicGovDHHS

    Mr Morrison will chair Friday’s meeting, with a framework to further lift restrictions across the country at the top of the agenda.

    The blueprint received in-principle support from premiers and chief ministers at the last meeting but has been criticised by doctors who warn it moves too fast.

    Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid said allowing large gatherings, more people indoors, returns to workplaces and public transport could deliver the wrong message.

    “It represents a significant change in direction, sending a message to the community that will drive complacency,” Dr Khorshid said.

    “Living with the threat of COVID-19 means that sensible restrictions must remain part of our lives for the foreseeable future.”

    The Australian Industry Group, which represents some of the country’s biggest employers, says committing to reopening domestic borders is a crucial step toward the eventual easing of international travel restrictions.

    “We now have among the globe’s tightest travel restrictions,” Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said.

    “Our low case numbers and improved quarantine arrangements make it highly desirable for business and family connections that international travel should start to ramp up.

    “However, it would be plainly embarrassing that a person from Singapore or Japan could travel to Queensland or Western Australia before a person from Victoria could set foot easily in those states.”

    1603103119-new-zealand-travel-bubble-aap Australia’s borders have been open to Kiwi travellers for several weeks.

    Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles urged Mr Morrison to show leadership.

    “He needs to bring people along on a process which sees our borders open up before the end of the year,” Mr Marles told the Nine Network.

    The leaders will receive Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s review of contact tracing systems around the country.

    Vaccine distribution is also up for national cabinet discussion after Pfizer reported its candidate had a 90 per cent effectiveness rate in late-stage clinical trials.

    Mr Morrison is expected to outline the federal government’s vaccine policy including the requirements for states and territories to assist with distributing vaccines when they are approved.

    International arrival caps will be also debated, with 35,000 Australians who want to return home still stranded overseas.

    Special repatriation flights from New Delhi and London arrived in Darwin this week bringing home a combined 319 people.

    There have been four flights into the Northern Territory capital since a deal was struck to use a mining hub outside of Darwin for two-week quarantine periods.

    “There is strong demand for the next four flights,” a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said.

    National cabinet is also due to talk about the bushfire royal commission report and the National Federation Reform Council meeting in December.

    -with AAP

  6. What is needed is an Australian response as they did in Victoria. 112 days of lock-down, two weeks free of COVID infections, no deaths, businesses re-opening, travel ok between Aus & NZ, and heavy fines for offenders.

    Instead, we in BC are faced with a semi-open border, without quarantine requirements:

    People still taking advantage of cross-border B.C. park to skip quarantine

    Ben Miljure

    Ben Miljure Multi-Skilled Journalist, CTV News Vancouver

    @CTVNewsBen Contact

    Published Thursday, November 12, 2020 5:17PM PST Last Updated Thursday, November 12, 2020 7:19PM PST

    VANCOUVER -- As COVID-19 cases continue to soar in both British Columbia and Washington State, many people continue to take advantage of an unwritten loophole that allows them to visit face-to-face with American friends and family without having to quarantine upon returning to Canada.

    The Canadian side of Peace Arch Park has been close since June to stop people from flaunting public health orders with international visits.

    But, the Washington state side of the park remains open, and Canadians can still freely access it by hopping a small ditch at Zero Avenue in Surrey.

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    ‘No One Is Listening to Us’

    More people than ever are hospitalized with COVID-19. Health-care workers can’t go on like this.

    Ed Yong
    7:00 AM ET
    Romelia Navarro is comforted by Michele Younkin, a nurse, while sitting at the bedside of her dying husband. Romelia Navarro is comforted by Michele Younkin, a nurse, while sitting at the bedside of her dying husband.Jae C. Hong / AP

    Editor’s Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here.

    On Saturday morning, Megan Ranney was about to put on her scrubs when she heard that Joe Biden had won the presidential election. That day, she treated people with COVID-19 while street parties erupted around the country. She was still in the ER in the late evening when Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris made their victory speeches. These days, her shifts at Rhode Island Hospital are long, and they “are not going to change in the next 73 days,” before Biden becomes president, she told me on Monday. Every time Ranney returns to the hospital, there are more COVID-19 patients.

    In the months since March, many Americans have habituated to the horrors of the pandemic. They process the election’s ramifications. They plan for the holidays. But health-care workers do not have the luxury of looking away: They’re facing a third pandemic surge that is bigger and broader than the previous two. In the U.S., states now report more people in the hospital with COVID-19 than at any other point this year—and 40 percent more than just two weeks ago.

    Emergency rooms are starting to fill again with COVID-19 patients. Utah, where Nathan Hatton is a pulmonary specialist at the University of Utah Hospital, is currently reporting 2,500 confirmed cases a day, roughly four times its summer peak. Hatton says that his intensive-care unit is housing twice as many patients as it normally does. His shifts usually last 12 to 24 hours, but can stretch to 36. “There are times I’ll come in in the morning, see patients, work that night, work all the next day, and then go home,” he told me. I asked him how many such shifts he has had to do. “Too many,” he said.

    Hospitals have put their pandemic plans into action, adding more beds and creating makeshift COVID-19 wards. But in the hardest-hit areas, there are simply not enough doctors, nurses, and other specialists to staff those beds. Some health-care workers told me that COVID-19 patients are the sickest people they’ve ever cared for: They require twice as much attention as a typical intensive-care-unit patient, for three times the normal length of stay. “It was doable over the summer, but now it’s just too much,” says Whitney Neville, a nurse based in Iowa. “Last Monday we had 25 patients waiting in the emergency department. They had been admitted but there was no one to take care of them.” I asked her how much slack the system has left. “There is none,” she said.

    Read: America is trapped in a pandemic spiral

    The entire state of Iowa is now out of staffed beds, Eli Perencevich, an infectious-disease doctor at the University of Iowa, told me. Worse is coming. Iowa is accumulating more than 3,600 confirmed cases every day; relative to its population, that’s more than twice the rate Arizona experienced during its summer peak, “when their system was near collapse,” Perencevich said. With only lax policies in place, those cases will continue to rise. Hospitalizations lag behind cases by about two weeks; by Thanksgiving, today’s soaring cases will be overwhelming hospitals that already cannot cope. “The wave hasn’t even crashed down on us yet,” Perencevich said. “It keeps rising and rising, and we’re all running on fear. The health-care system in Iowa is going to collapse, no question.”

    In the imminent future, patients will start to die because there simply aren’t enough people to care for them. Doctors and nurses will burn out. The most precious resource the U.S. health-care system has in the struggle against COVID-19 isn’t some miracle drug. It’s the expertise of its health-care workers—and they are exhausted.

    Health-care workers at the Texas Medical Center (Callaghan O'Hare / REUTERS); preparing to go into the COVID-19 intensive-care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center (Go Nakamura / Getty)


    The struggles of the first two COVID-19 surges in the United States helped hospitals steel themselves for the third. Hardened by the crucible of March and April, New York City built up its ability to spot burgeoning hot spots, trace contacts, and offer places where infected people can isolate. “We’re seeing red flags but we’ve prepared ourselves,” says Syra Madad from NYC Health + Hospitals. Experienced health-care workers are less fearful than they were earlier this year. “We’ve been through this before and we know what we have to do,” says Uché Blackstock, an emergency physician who works in Brooklyn. And with the new generation of rapid tests, Blackstock says she can now tell patients if they have the coronavirus within minutes—a huge improvement over the spring, when tests were scarce and slow.

    Smaller clinics, nursing homes, and long-term-care facilities are still struggling to provide personal protective equipment, including gloves and masks. “About a third are completely out of at least one type of PPE” despite having COVID-19 cases, says Esther Choo, a physician at Oregon Health and Science University and a founder of Get Us PPE. But larger hospitals are doing better, having built up stockpiles and backup plans in case supply chains become strained again. “The hospital is probably the safest place to work in Iowa, because we actually have PPE,” Perencevich said.

    Most important, COVID-19 is no longer a total mystery. Health-care workers now have a clearer idea of what the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is capable of. Protocols that didn’t exist in the spring have become habit. “It used to be that to do a single thing, people would start email chains and you’d be 100 emails in before we knew the answer,” Choo says. “Now we’re moving faster. It feels a lot more confident.”

    Read: The difference between feeling safe and being safe

    There are still no cures, and the best drug on offer—the steroid dexamethasone—reduces the odds of dying from COVID-19 by at most 12 percent. But doctors know how to triage patients, which tests to order, and which treatments to use. They know that ventilators can sometimes hurt patients, and that “proning”—flipping patients onto their stomach—can help. They know about the blood clots and kidney problems. They know that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work. This cumulative knowledge means that death rates from COVID-19 are much lower now than they were in the spring. Flattening the curve worked as intended, giving health-care workers some breathing room to learn how to handle a disease that didn’t even exist this time last year.

    But these hard-earned successes are brittle. If death rates have fallen thanks to increasing medical savvy, they might rise again as nurses and doctors burn out. “If we can get patients into staffed beds, I feel like they’re doing better,” Perencevich said. “But that requires a functional health-care system, and we’re at the point where we aren’t going to have that.”

    Intensive-care units are called that for a reason. A typical patient with a severe case of COVID-19 will have a tube connecting their airways to a ventilator, which must be monitored by a respiratory therapist. If their kidneys shut down, they might be on 24-hour dialysis. Every day, they’ll need to be flipped onto their stomach, and then onto their back again—a process that requires six or seven people. They’ll have several tubes going into their heart and blood vessels, administering eight to 12 drugs—sedatives, pain medications, blood thinners, antibiotics, and more. All of these must be carefully adjusted, sometimes minute to minute, by an ICU nurse. None of these drugs is for treating COVID-19 itself. “That’s just to keep them alive,” Neville, the Iowa nurse, said. An ICU nurse can typically care for two people at a time, but a single COVID-19 patient can consume their full attention. Those patients remain in the ICU for three times the length of the usual stay.

    Nurses and doctors are also falling sick themselves. “The winter is traditionally a very stressful time in health care, and everyone gets taken down at some point,” says Saskia Popescu, an infection preventionist at George Mason University, who is based in Arizona. The third COVID-19 surge has intensified this seasonal cycle, as health-care workers catch the virus, often from outside the hospital. “Our unplanned time off is double what it was last October,” says Allison Suttle of Sanford Health, a health system operating in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota. Many hospitals have staff on triple backup: While off their shifts, they should expect to get called in if a colleague and their first substitute and the substitute’s substitute are all sick. At least 1,375 U.S. health-care workers have died from COVID-19.

    The first two surges were concentrated in specific parts of the country, so beleaguered hospitals could call for help from states that weren’t besieged. “People were coming to us in our hour of need,” says Madad, from NYC Health + Hospitals, “but now the entire nation is on fire.” No one has reinforcements to send. There are travel nurses who aren’t tied to specific health systems, but the hardest-hit rural hospitals are struggling to attract them away from wealthier, urban centers. “Everyone is tapping into the same pool, and people don’t want to work in Fargo, North Dakota, for the holidays,” Suttle says. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum recently said that nurses who are positive for COVID-19 but symptom-free can return to work in COVID-19 units. “That’s just a big red flag of just how serious it is,” Suttle says. (The North Dakota Nurses Association has rejected the policy.)

    Read: This overlooked variable is key to the pandemic

    Short-staffed hospitals could transfer their patients—but to where? “A lot of smaller hospitals don’t have ventilators or staff trained to take care of someone in critical condition,” says Renae Moch, the director of Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, North Dakota. “They’re looking to larger hospitals,” but those are also full.

    Making matters worse, patients with other medical problems are sicker than usual, several doctors told me. During the earlier surges, hospitals canceled elective surgeries and pulled in doctors from outpatient clinics. People with heart problems, cancers, strokes, and other diseases found it harder to get medical help, and some sat on their illness for fear of contracting COVID-19 at the hospital. Now health-care workers are facing an influx of unusually sick people at a time when COVID-19 has consumed their attention and their facilities. “We’re still catching up on all of that,” says Choo, the Oregon physician. “Even the simplest patients aren’t simple.”

    A nurse breaks down at Lenox Hill Medical Center in New York City (Kevin C. Downs / Redux)

    For many health-care workers, the toll of the pandemic goes beyond physical exhaustion. COVID-19 has eaten away at the emotional core of their work. “To be a nurse, you really have to care about people,” Neville said. But when an ICU is packed with COVID-19 patients, most of whom are likely to die, “to protect yourself, you just shut down. You get to the point when you realize that you’ve become a machine. There’s only so many bags you can zip.”

    As the pandemic moved out of big coastal cities and into rural communities, health-care workers were more likely to treat people they knew personally—relatives, hospital colleagues, the bus driver who drove their kids to school. And across the country, doctors and nurses have struggled with the same anxieties as everyone else—loneliness, extra child-care burdens, the stress of a tumultuous year, fear. “The lines between our personal lives and our careers have completely gone,” says Laolu Fayanju, senior medical director in Ohio of Oak Street Health, a national network of primary-care centers. “We’re often thinking about how we protect ourselves, our families, and our neighborhoods” from the pandemic.

    After SARS hit Toronto in 2003, health-care workers at hospitals that treated SARS patients showed higher levels of burnout and posttraumatic stress up to two years later, compared with those at hospitals in nearby cities that didn’t see the disease. That outbreak lasted just four months. The COVID-19 pandemic is now in its tenth month. “I’ve had conversations with people who’ve been nurses for 25 years, and all of them say the same thing: ‘We’ve never worked in this environment before,’” says Jennifer Gil from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, who contracted COVID-19 herself in March. “How much can meditation or mental-health resources help when we’re doing this every day?”

    Even after cases stop climbing, health-care workers will have to catch up on a new round of procedures that didn’t happen because of COVID-19—but without the adrenaline that a packed hospital brings. “Everyone talks about fatigue during the surge, but one of the hardest things is coming down from it,” Popescu says. “You’re exhausted but you still don’t get that mental break.”

    Read: Long-haulers are redefining COVID-19

    As hard as the work fatigue is, the “societal fatigue” is harder, said Hatton, the Utah pulmonary specialist. He is tired of walking out of an ICU where COVID-19 has killed another patient, and walking into a grocery store where he hears people saying it doesn’t exist. Health-care workers and public-health officials have received threats and abusive messages accusing them of fearmongering. They’ve watched as friends have adopted Donald Trump’s lies about doctors juking the hospitalization numbers to get more money. They’ve pleaded with family members to wear masks and physically distance, lest they end up competing for ICU beds that no longer exist. “Nurses have been the most trusted profession for 18 years in a row, which is now bullshit because no one is listening to us,” Neville said.

    Medical staff push a stretcher with a deceased patient at the United Memorial Medical Center. (Go Nakamura / Getty)

    Trump is still falsely claiming victory over the virus that ran amok because of his incompetence, and he is unlikely to do anything more to control it during the dusk of his presidency. Neither a vaccine nor a Biden administration will arrive quickly enough to turn the current surge around. The next months will be bleak. But Biden’s election “has given me a second wind,” Fayanju says.

    Biden openly wears a mask, and has urged Americans to do the same. He has released a sound COVID-19 plan that, he said during his acceptance speech, is “built on a bedrock of science.” He has assembled a coronavirus task force composed of 13 people with medical expertise. He has committed to rejoining the World Health Organization. His presidency, many health-care workers hope, will mark a newfound commitment to stopping the pandemic, restoring the humbled Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and ending a steady stream of gaslighting and misinformation from the federal government itself. “I slept this weekend like I haven’t slept since February—without the same demons,” Choo says. “I woke up doped up on sleep.”

    Choo also studies the impacts of health-care policy, and has found that health-care systems sometimes react to imminent policies months before they are actually come into force. Could that happen with Biden’s pandemic plan? “It absolutely could, and there’s precedent for it,” she says. She expects that state leaders will start to coalesce around his plan and consult with his task force.

    Still, “you can’t just fix a pandemic this far down the rabbit hole,” Popescu says. “I’m hopeful, but I don’t expect this to suddenly turn itself around overnight.” Biden will inherit a health-care system that is battered at best and broken at worst, a polarized electorate, and many local leaders who are doubling down on bad policies. Trump won Iowa by eight points, which Governor Kim Reynolds took as validation of the state’s COVID-19 response thus far. Bars, restaurants, and schools in Iowa are still fully open, and a recently announced mask mandate applies only for gatherings of 25 people or more. “That takes away my hope,” Perencevich said.

    “We can’t just sit on our hands and wait for Jan. 20 to come,” said Megan Ranney, the Rhode Island physician. Several health-care workers I spoke with are trying to keep mild cases of COVID-19 from becoming severe enough to warrant an ICU bed. The Oak Street Health primary-care centers deliver fluids, pulse oximeters, and smart tablets to the homes of newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients, so doctors can check on their symptoms virtually. In North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, the Sanford Health network has set up outpatient “infusion centers” where elderly COVID-19 patients or those with chronic illnesses can get drugs that might slow the progression of their disease. These drugs will include the antibody therapy bamlanivimab, which received an emergency-use authorization from the FDA on Monday, Suttle told me.

    But the best strategy remains the obvious one: Keep people from getting infected at all. Once again, the fate of the U.S. health-care system depends on the collective action of its citizens. Once again, the nation must flatten the curve. This need not involve a lockdown. We now know that the coronavirus mostly spreads through the air, and does so easily when people spend prolonged periods together in poorly ventilated areas. People can reduce their risk by wearing masks and avoiding indoor spaces such as restaurants, bars, and gyms, where the possibility of transmission is especially high (no matter how often these places clean their surfaces). Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, for which several generations will travel around the country for days of close indoor contact and constant conversation, will be risky too.

    Preliminary results suggest that at least one effective vaccine is on the way. The choices made in the coming weeks will influence how many Americans die before they have a chance to receive it, and how many health-care workers are broken in the process.


    We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to

    Ed Yong is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers science.

    Hi Judy, hi Glen;

    Over the past two decades you have both provided that most-important "glue": - a "place" that keeps friends, colleagues, economists, employee associations, "captains of industry", scientists, engineers, those who reflected and engaged the psychological and the philosophical aspects of life, -  in an-often spirited dialogue, (emphasis on dialogue). I think that the AEF has contributed positively, materially to aviation here and in other countries. The AEF has certainly contributed to the goals I consider most valuable: the safety of our collective operations, and learning-from-others.

    The consequences of the "AEF as watercooler" are significant; - here we all were in our "global public square", the "electronic cubicle"; - members' contributions and their historical record, (which I hope will be preserved), are invaluable.

    The AEF was, under Jim, and under your caring hand over the past two decades, (remarkable steadiness in a world that is anything but), is the ultimate in the "marketplace of ideas", most importantly in aviation but also, of late, in the non-aviation realm.

    Well done to you both, and congratulations on your well-deserved retirement. To a person, we are all going to miss the exchanges. I hope someone who's also keen on aviation comes forward to continue this fine forum!


    Don Hudson

    White Rock, BC

    ps. J.O., spot on, let me know if there's a visit from our honoured hosts; - nice words, well said, Kip - yes, good days, and all of a sudden, here we are!

    • Like 2
  9. Hi Malcolm - I try to stay away from arguing from testimonials and fixed points. I think Dr. Fauci's approach makes sufficient sense to support healthy decisions for oneself, one's family, friends and one's chosen "bubble".

    But I understand the resistance and the anger at "being told by one's country's elected leaders that one 'must do this or that...' " In one way, the resistance is logical because we still live in a democracy. Even though we adhere to the social contract most times, we are unaccustomed to "being told directly", and the resistance is "in the beast" of democracy.

    So it takes a leap-of-faith to accept the conclusions of science. Now isn't that an irony!

    "Obeying" in the face of a logical, reasoned argument isn't "caving", it is using one's innate intelligence and life experience and sometimes one's imagination, to decide upon one's actions. We fly airplanes and carry passengers using established principles, deeply respecting out of experience, the complete indifference of aviation as to whether we all survive on any one day, or not. Aviation's record is spectacularly successful because of this respectful, knowledgable behaviour.

    Like Honey Badger, life don't care if you live or not. It's a cold-bucket-of-water decision one must make for oneself and those one is responsible for. We don't step out into traffic without looking, we dress warmly in cold weather, and we enforce those rules with our children. The virus is different in only one way: -because we can and do spread this virus easily and swiftly, we ARE our brothers' keeper until these circumstances no longer apply and our decisions no longer have deadly material outcomes beyond our own skin.

    Aviation got safe when people obeyed its principles. Economies get better when people do. You do what you can when there are no cures, only prevention.

    All these principles of survival are under severe challenge but only by opinion, and it is not time yet, to rely upon a vaccine to solve a world-wide problem.


    • Like 1
  10. 11 minutes ago, boestar said:

    There is a disconnect when working remotely.  I am currently working remote and while I love the commute, I do not feel in tune with the whole operation. 

    I think this will rapidly become obvious for those shareholder/owner/management personnel who make these decisions. They really should approach such changes with thought and with caution.

    In the end this is a corporate risk-management decision and not merely a "new", physical restructuring of the way business might be conducted, (increased efficiencies, lower costs, online communications & conferencing tools are all the usual reasons cited).

    The disconnectedness you mention, I know is, in fact, a reality even now being expressed by those trying to function within a "virtual headquarters". I think as soon as practical & safe, bringing people back together again in a complex organization is necessary.

    The lesson from the Boeing story is straightforward: both horizontally and laterally in the corporate structure, engender & facilitate the personal, when it comes to expressing disagreement, dissent and possible realistic alternative solutions to the problem at hand. CRM was created in the early 90's for a reason and it works.


  11. The notion of the "home office" fails to take into account our very nature as a social creature. There is a significant disruption & disconnect without "the water-cooler" or the mini-townhall round which all kinds of issues are raised and sometimes even resolved!

    We are already seeing serious personal health issues not directly related to COVID but nevertheless resulting from the isolation of the past ten months. What's more, even following the usual Dr. Fauci rules, there is no let-up from the requirement of social isolation without risk of serious resurgence of the virus, as is being demonstrated now, Europe being the latest example; let us hope that the Canada-U.S. border remains closed, particularly now given our own case-increases.

    A very few jobs, professions or temporary work engagements may lend themselves to the notion of the "home office", but most corporate work is necessarily collaborative, and work that is highly-technical which also as risk & safety components (such as making airplanes...), demonstrably benefits from the operations & commercial people being able to "walk down the hall" to the engineers, planners and safety people to discuss a problem. The fact that Boeing's changed culture crushed those kinds of dialogues is beside the point - interventions were offered and dismissed with predictable results. Sometimes the interruptions that occur in a busy office, while cited as being annoying, can actually lead to "progress" but not in a formal way.

    Anyway, because they can, corporations will try, over time, to dump the bricks-&-mortar of office buildings and the expenses of creating/maintaning such, onto employees but I think comments like Super 80's above, will be the result!

    • Thanks 1
  12. From the article:



    If we had listened to the FAA and Boeing we would have settled for making modifications to the MCAS which was the contributing factor for both accidents.”

    EASA is now finalizing its work on the MAX following the completion of inflight tests, which [EASA Director-general Patrick] Ky said “went well.”

    Ky also said that, looking to the future, EASA would look at the Boeing 777X with “increased vigilance.”


    Also, no mention of EASA's previous comments regarding EICAS.

  13. Friends with whom I've discussed the MAX believe that the Europeans, (EASA) may not be willing to certify the aircraft until it has a crew alerting system. The reasoning behind this thinking is, every aircraft built in the past four decades has had such a system except the B737, and it has been argued that the absence of such an alerting system contributed substantially to the crew confusion in both MAX accidents. Both JTAR & Congressional Committee Reports reinforce this. Boeing argued strenuously and long against the EICAS requirement due fleet commonality, training & development costs.

    QF32 was mentioned in exchanges as an clear example of a "save" by the crew alerting system, (ECAM).

    I doubt at this point that such views would permit re-certification while an EICAS is in development" regardless of what the FAA does.

  14. Apologies if this has been posted previously - From a link in the previous article above:


    Boeing whistleblower alleges systemic problems with 737 MAX

    June 18, 2020 at 4:40 pm Updated June 18, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    Investigators at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crashed shortly after takeoff on March 10, 2019. All MAX jets were... (Mulugeta Ayene / Associated Press) More


    Dominic Gates

    Seattle Times aerospace reporter

    A Boeing engineer who last year lodged an internal ethics complaint alleging serious shortcomings in development of the 737 MAX has written to a U.S. Senate committee asserting that systemic problems with the jet’s design “must be fixed before the 737 MAX is allowed to return to service.”

    The letter to the Senate, a copy of which was obtained by The Seattle Times, was written by engineer Curtis Ewbank, a 34-year-old specialist in flight-deck systems whose job when the MAX was in early stages of development involved studying past crashes and using that information to make new planes safer.

    His letter, sent earlier this month, argues that it’s not enough for Boeing to fix the flawed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that’s known to have brought down the aircraft in two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

    “I have no doubt the FAA and lawmakers are under considerable pressure to allow the 737 MAX to return to service as quickly as possible and as soon as the public MCAS flaw is fixed,” Ewbank told the Senate.  “However, given the numerous other known flaws in the airframe, it will be just a matter of time before another flight crew is overwhelmed by a design flaw known to Boeing and further lives are senselessly lost.”

    He goes on to suggest similar shortcomings in the flight-control systems may affect the safety of Boeing’s forthcoming 777X widebody jet.

    Ewbank’s letter also reveals that he has been interviewed about his concerns by the FBI, which suggests his allegations have at least been considered as part of the Justice Department’s probe into what went wrong on the 737 MAX and whether the actions of anyone at Boeing were criminal.

    He mentions he has also delivered details of his allegations to the lead investigator on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation, chaired by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.

    In 2014, during early work on the MAX’s development, Ewbank worked unsuccessfully to have Boeing upgrade the MAX’s flight-control systems by adding a new data measurement system called Synthetic Airspeed that would have served as a check on multiple sensors. If it had been implemented, he believes it might have prevented the fatal crashes.

    Ewbank’s original internal ethics complaint, first reported last October by The Seattle Times, alleged that Boeing rejected his safety upgrades because of management’s focus on schedule and cost considerations and the insistence that anything that might require more pilot training would not be considered.

    He also alleged that Boeing pushed regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to relax certification requirements for the airplane, particularly in regard to the cockpit systems for alerting pilots that something is wrong inflight.

    Those systems on the MAX have been under scrutiny because during the two fatal MAX crashes that killed 346 people, pilots struggled to understand the cascade of warnings in their cockpits.

    ‘Hand-waving and deception’

    Ewbank’s letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation was sent June 5, ahead of a public hearing Wednesday that featured scathing criticism of FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson for his agency’s lack of progress in addressing the lapses of oversight in certifying the MAX.

    Ewbank criticizes not only Boeing for its design of the MAX but also the FAA for approving the design without proper oversight.

    “The 737 MAX’s original certification was accomplished with hand-waving and deception to hide the numerous ways the 1960s-era design of the 737 does not meet current regulatory standards,” he wrote.

    And he hit out at a recent Department of Transportation (DOT) advisory panel report on the MAX crashes that recommended only minor changes to the way airplanes are certified, preserving Boeing’s central role in that process. Ewbank called the report “a serious threat to aviation safety and the flying public.”

    “If the FAA was truly regulating in the public interest, it would take action against Boeing for its continued deception and gross errors in the design and production of the 737 MAX by withdrawing Boeing’s production certificate,” he concluded.

    Ansley Lacitis, deputy chief of staff for Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, said her office “was made aware of the letter right before the hearing” on Wednesday.

    “The first step of a whistleblower investigation is to make contact with the whistleblower and we have done that,” Lacitis said. “We take these and other allegations seriously and continue to investigate them.”

    In a statement, Boeing said company officials have not seen the letter.

    “Boeing offers its employees a number of channels for raising concerns and complaints and has rigorous processes in place that ensure complaints receive thorough consideration and protect employee confidentiality,” the statement said. “Boeing does not comment on the substance or existence of such internal complaints.”

    Boeing’s statement adds that “when the MAX returns to service, it will be one of the most thoroughly scrutinized aircraft in history, and we have full confidence in its safety.”

    Ewbank could not be reached for comment.

    After the Seattle Times made public his internal ethics complaint, Boeing placed Ewbank on leave. “We can confirm that Mr. Ewbank remains an employee in good standing,” company spokesman Bernard Choi said this week.

    Flawed flight-deck systems

    One conclusion of the DOT report on the MAX crashes was that if the 737 MAX had been certified as an all-new jet instead of as a derivative of the earlier model, it “would not have produced more rigorous scrutiny … and would not have produced a safer airplane.”

    Ewbank calls this “utterly incorrect.”

    He cites specific regulations for which Boeing, because the MAX was considered a derivative model, didn’t have to meet the latest safety standards. And he points to how these shortcomings could have affected the pilots in the two crashes.

    He wrote that because Boeing, for certification purposes, had to evaluate only flight-deck systems that had changed from the 737 NG model, Boeing missed the opportunity to evaluate pilot reaction times.

    Boeing has admitted that it made incorrect assumptions about those reaction times in designing the new system — the MCAS —  that brought down both MAX planes that crashed.

    Although MCAS was new, its operation depended on other unchanged systems and its interactions with those systems were not analyzed, Ewbank wrote.

    By choosing to certify the jet as an amended version of the earlier model, Boeing “severely limited the range of human factors evaluation of 737 MAX systems,” he said.

    And in a comment on Boeing’s forthcoming large widebody jet, Ewbank added: “The changed/unchanged system line on the 777X is even more convoluted and involves more complicated systems than the 737 MAX.”

    Ewbank reiterates his internal critique of the crew-alerting systems on the MAX, saying they failed to meet the current standards for such alerts, which are supposed to be “designed with the latest understanding of human factors to present information to flight crews and prompt appropriate reaction in critical scenarios.”

    “These flaws were known to Boeing as it worked with the FAA to certify the
    737 MAX, and awareness of this was creatively hidden or outright withheld from regulators,” he wrote.

    Ewbank also revisits his unsuccessful push to have Synthetic Airspeed added to make the MAX safer, which would have made more reliable the various air-data measures used by the flight-control computer, including the angle of attack, the angle between the jet’s wing and the oncoming air stream.

    It was a faulty angle of attack reading on each of the crash flights that initiated the operation of MCAS. 

    “The known unreliability of air data, due to the potential for erroneous data caused by external factors, makes the initial design of MCAS simply unacceptable” Ewbank wrote. Yet, he says, “upper management shut down the (Synthetic Airspeed) project over cost and training concerns.”

    According to a person familiar with the discussions, the FAA and Boeing, along with the European air safety regulator EASA, are discussing various system “enhancements” that Boeing could add to the MAX after it returns to service, with no firm decisions yet made.

    Last week, on the specialist aviation website The Air Current, Jon Ostrower reported that Synthetic Airspeed or an equivalent system is one of the enhancements under consideration. Boeing would not confirm that.

    Michael Stumo, whose daughter Samya died in last year’s MAX crash in Ethiopia, on Thursday also received a copy of Ewbank’s letter.

    “This is the most comprehensive engineering analysis I’ve seen yet,” Stumo said. “It calls into question whether the MAX should ever fly again.”

    “People have to die”

    Ewbank notes that he left Boeing in 2015 “in protest of management actions to rationalize the poor design of the 737 MAX. I did not think I could do my duty as an engineer to protect the safety of the public in the environment created by management at Boeing.”

    He asserts that, “Prior to my departure in 2015, my manager argued against the design changes I wanted to make by stating, ‘People have to die before Boeing will change things.'”

    Ewbank returned to Boeing in 2018 to work on the 777X.

    “I returned to the company and quickly witnessed the nightmare of the very accidents I had tried to prevent happen in real life,” he writes.

    After the second MAX crash in Ethiopia, he filed his internal ethics complaint.  

    Ewbank concludes his letter to the Senate by calling for a series of actions to improve the rigor of the airplane certification process, particularly in his area of expertise: flight-deck systems.

    He asks that FAA regulations be thoroughly revamped “to ensure they reflect a modern understanding of computer technology and human-machine interfaces.”

    He calls for a shift in the way certification work on new airplanes is delegated by the FAA to Boeing itself and how the flow of information between the two is restricted.

    “The decision to sign off on any particular design at Boeing has been culturally expropriated from the engineers to management,” he wrote.

    In this critique, he mirrors criticism by the Senate committee itself, which this week proposed legislation to tighten controls on the FAA’s delegation of work and ensure direct communication between FAA and Boeing technical experts on certification details.

    Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or; on Twitter: @dominicgates.

  15. Union for FAA’s safety engineers urges more changes to Boeing 737 MAX before it can fly again

    Sep. 21, 2020 at 2:54 pm Updated Sep. 21, 2020 at 6:53 pm


    Dominic Gates

    Seattle Times aerospace reporter

    A union representing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airplane safety engineers who work on certifying new aircraft called Monday for substantial upgrades to the flight crew alerting systems and other changes on Boeing’s 737 MAX before the plane is allowed to return to the air.

    The union’s comments came on the final day for public comment on the FAA’s proposed design changes, with more than 200 responses posted by late afternoon.

    The FAA’s own technical experts argue that fixing the flawed flight control system that caused the two crashes is not enough and that Boeing must also address the serious confusion that played out in the cockpit in both emergencies.

    In contrast, a submission Monday by the main airline pilot union in North America declares the FAA’s proposed design changes “an effective component in ensuring the safe return to service” and suggesting only relatively small tweaks to the current plan.

    The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), representing more than 10,000 pilots in the U.K., weighed in more critically, suggesting that the MAX should have been certified as an all-new design in the first place,requiring it to meet all current requirements.

    Exceptions granted

    During the original certification of the 737 MAX, Boeing successfully argued to the FAA that the jet shouldn’t have to meet all the latest certification requirements governing how cockpit warnings tell the pilots that something is wrong.

    The MAX was duly granted exceptions to five of the regulatory stipulations so that it could retain the legacy 737 instrument panel and crew alert system.

    The FAA technical staff union argued Monday that those exceptions should be rescinded and the crew alerting system on the recertified MAX updated accordingly as a condition of the jet’s return to service.

    In the Lion Air and Ethiopian 737 MAX accidents that killed 346 people, multiple warnings set off by a single erroneous sensor caused distraction and confusion for the pilots.

    The union proposal would require major revisions to the instrument displays on the airplane as well as more pilot training on the revised systems, and would likely further delay the MAX’s return, which Boeing hopes will be by year end.

    In early August, the FAA published its final list of required design changes to the Boeing 737 MAX and invited public comment. The comment period ended Monday and last-minute responses came in from various parties with substantial expertise.

    The National Safety Committee of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) — a union that represents almost 700 aircraft-certification technical experts at the FAA, as well as air traffic controllers — recommended a series of additional changes to the MAX, including rescinding the crew-alerting exceptions.

    The NATCA comments follow closely the critique of Boeing whistleblower Curtis Ewbank, a safety engineer who filed an ethics complaint internally at Boeing after the second MAX crash in Ethiopia and who then publicly repeated his concerns about the safety of the MAX in a letter to the U.S. Senate this summer.

    On Friday, covering much of the same ground, Ewbank submitted his own comment on the FAA return to service plan.

    Four fatal accidents cited

    The changes the FAA plan mandates will fix the flight control system — the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) — that activated erroneously in the two crashes and brought both planes down. It also moves some wiring to ensure proper separation of wires controlling the horizontal tail. And it switches the avionics architecture of the airplane so that it uses both flight control computers on a given flight instead of only one.

    However, the FAA plan leaves the MAX’s instrument panel displays and the pilot warning systems largely untouched. Updating them would require a major remake of the 737’s human/machine interface that would be both expensive and lengthy.

    In the original certification of the MAX, in arguing for the exemptions, Boeing estimated the cost of full compliance in terms of new training for pilots worldwide at more than $10 billion.

    In its submission Monday, NATCA declared that argument not valid.

    “The cost of the two accidents that resulted in worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX fleet has well exceeded the stated $10 billion flight crew training costs,” NATCA states.

    NATCA draws attention to how a continuous “stick shaker” alert — a heavy, loud vibration of the pilot control column that indicates the plane is on the point of stalling — triggered by a single angle of attack sensor can prove a major distraction, yet cannot be canceled as the latest regulations require. This is a problem also highlighted by Transport Canada, which has asked Boeing for a fix.

    There have been two other fatal accidents, on Birgenair and AeroPeru 757s in 1996, that are associated with multiple false and conflicting alerts, NATCA notes.

    The 757 is an older Boeing plane, no longer produced, but with similar alerting to the 737. In both those accidents, the stick shaker was going off warning that the plane was slowing to a stall while at the same time an overspeed warning indicated the plane was going too fast. This was also the case on the Ethiopian Airlines MAX that crashed.

    “Based on a history of four fatal accidents in the last 24 years, the alerting design should be upgraded,” NATCA states.

    NATCA also reiterates another recommendation previously raised by Ewbank, which is that the warning light on a MAX instrument panel indicating that the jet’s autothrottle is disconnected is too similar to a different warning related to airspeed and has no audio backup warning. This design isn’t permitted under the latest safety regulations.

    Separately, NATCA recommends revising the instructions to pilots of how to use the manual wheel in the cockpit to counter movement of the horizontal tail if it pushes the jet’s nose down uncommanded by the pilot.

    NATCA says the procedure as now rewritten by Boeing is lacking because it fails to specifically tell the pilots that before they hit the cutout switches to kill electrical power to the motor moving the tail, they first need to use the thumb switches on the control column to get the tail back to a near neutral position.

    Failing to do that can leave the horizontal tail so far out of position that the aerodynamic forces on it make the manual wheel too heavy to move.

    Data from the Ethiopian Airlines ET302 crash suggests this is what happened on that flight, with the pilots immediately hitting the cutoff switches to stop MCAS, but then finding it impossible to move the manual wheel to get the nose back up again.

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    NATCA’s comments, representing the FAA’s own safety engineers, add weight to the warnings sounded by Ewbank, first internally and then publicly.

    In Ewbank’s comment on the FAA plan, he outlined the need to prevent faulty readings from the MAX’s angle of attack sensor triggering multiple conflicting warnings and called for Boeing to “conduct a holistic evaluation of flight deck human factors and crew alerting, at least ensuring all alerts comply with regulations.”

    “If automation is reacting to erroneous data and taking control away from the crew, if there isn’t sufficient backup data available to the crew to use, or even worse, if there isn’t aerodynamic control authority available for the crew to control the airplane, safety cannot be assured,” Ewbank wrote.

    “The 737 operates in some scenarios at reduced safety margins compared to modern aircraft,” he added.

    In a separate submission, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), representing nearly 63,000 pilots flying for 35 airlines in the United States and Canada, supports the planned FAA airworthiness directive (AD).

    “ALPA believes the proposed AD includes relevant and effective mitigations that address the issues identified with MCAS,” ALPA wrote. It adds that enhanced training and revisions to the pilot checklists will enable MAX flight crews “to quickly and adequately respond to various scenarios.”

    Noting that there is “still room for improvement,” ALPA then lists a few suggested changes to pilot alerts and checklists.

    Like NATCA, the union has some concern about the difficulty in moving the wheel that manually swivels the horizontal tail. ALPA suggests the checklist specify that turning it may require the effort of both pilots and asks Boeing for a redesign to ensure this scenario is extremely improbable.

    And again mirroring the concern of others about the problem of the stick shaker going off erroneously, ALPA asks the FAA to include a procedure in pilot training for the flight crew to “quickly identify and pull the associated stick shaker circuit breaker after the alert is confirmed erroneous so that crews may remove the nuisance.”

    This falls well short of the alerting system changes called for by NATCA.

    The BALPA pilot union submission criticizes the FAA certification process in a general way, without demanding specific changes to the MAX.

    It faults the FAA’s original certification of the MAX as a derivative model, instead of as an all-new design that would have required more scrutiny and additional pilot training.

    “It is strongly felt that all future substantial aircraft design changes should result in certification as a new type with a commensurate level of training required for pilots,” BALPA wrote.

    Agreeing with the position of European aviation regulator EASA, BALPA states that unlike the FAA plan to use two angle of attack sensors on the MAX, “it would be preferable for the system to utilize three.”

    BALPA also said Boeing should never have used software — MCAS — to correct the MAX’s handling characteristics. Such deficiencies “should not be masked” by software but “instead should require aerodynamic re-design from the outset,” BALPA states.

    Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or; on Twitter: @dominicgates.




  16. More on the AW&ST article:

    Input On Proposed MAX Changes Spotlight Broader 737 Fleet Issues

    Sean Broderick September 22, 2020

    Boeing 737 MAX

    Credit: Collins Aerospace

    Pilot groups and at least one regulator have raised concerns about several non-normal pilot procedures being changed following a review of the grounded Boeing 737 MAX that also apply to older versions of the venerable narrowbody.

    Boeing’s proposed modifications to the MAX in response to two fatal accidents affect the model’s flight control computer software, manuals, and pilot training. While the software changes apply only to the MAX variant, several non-normal checklists being updated are the same for the MAX and the 737 Next Generation (NG). Two in particular—runaway stabilizer and airspeed unreliable—have been highlighted by several commenters that weighed in on the FAA’s proposed requirements that would codify Boeing’s changes.

    The United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) told the FAA it is concerned about a lack of understanding around factors that affect manual movement, or trimming, of the horizontal stabilizer. “The manual wheel trim forces were certified by analysis and not by flight testing (or tested on non-B737MAX aircraft),” the GCAA told the FAA in comments. “Heaviness on the manual wheel trim following a failure, like runaway stabilizer, must be fully understood and experienced by crew during training and test.”

    Used when automatic stabilizer trim motors fail or are de-activated by pilots troubleshooting an issue—and, crucially, a key step on the runaway stabilizer checklist—applying manual trim requires pilots to rotate a crank attached to a spool-shaped wheel in the cockpit. Analysis of factors highlighted in the MAX accidents revealed that aerodynamic forces can make the wheel difficult to turn. 

    The FAA conducted flight tests in mid-2019 to evaluate the issue, and flagged it as needing further review. One of the results will be updates to Boeing’s 737 flight crew operations manual (FCOM) and training documents that highlight, in general, possible difficulties with manually trimming in certain situations. 

    The GCAA expressed frustration with the lack of specifics that could help industry better understand the issue.

    “The least FAA and Boeing can do is to assist the authority and the operator by providing necessary data associated to this certification and manual trim techniques,” the UAE regulator said.

    A representative from one U.S. pilots’ group told Aviation Week that its concern over the same issues led it to ask the FAA for data from the 2019 trials not long after they were completed. The agency has not provided it.

    The Allied Pilots Association (APA) that represents American Airlines pilots is among those concerned about a related issue—teaching pilots how to reduce forces on the stabilizer so the trim wheel is easier to turn manually. If pilots facing a runaway stabilizer do not immediately counteract uncommanded inputs using yoke-mounted trim switches before disconnecting the trim motor, forces on the stabilizer can make it more difficult to adjust manually.

    “The checklist should include a note that if the method of reducing airspeed to reduce air loads on the stabilizer fails to allow manual trimming (as a result of excessive stabilizer loads created by elevator pressure), slowly relaxing the control column pressure can reduce the load making manual trimming possible,” APA said.

    Boeing included details of a similar procedure, which it called the “roller coaster” technique, in manuals for some of its early jets, including the 707 and the 737-100/200, but current manuals do not discuss it in detail. APA and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) are among those pushing to get similar instructions put back in the 737 manual. Boeing’s proposed change to the 737 FCOM is a general note advising pilots to consider reducing airspeed to lessen aerodynamic forces on the stabilizer.

    “This note does not provide any information for the flight crew to consider how much of an airspeed decrease will be necessary,” said comments filed by ALPA, which represents pilots at several 737 MAX operators, including Air Canada, United Airlines, and WestJet Airlines. “For horizontal stabilizers out of trim by a large magnitude, aircraft can quickly become difficult to manage at high airspeeds. ALPA believes guidance should be provided to the flight crew as to a specific targeted reduced airspeed.”

    ALPA also expressed concern over Boeing’s language on the runaway stabilizer and stabilizer inoperative checklists that says both pilots may need to turn the manual trim wheel simultaneously to generate enough leverage to move the stabilizer.

    “ALPA believes that a scenario where both pilots are required to provide manual inputs to a safety-critical flight control system during a non-normal event is not an ideal response to that event,” the association said. “During non-normal events it is commonly trained that one pilot continues to maintain the safe flight of the aircraft while the other pilot conducts the completion of related checklists, such as the [quick-reference handbook]. To interrupt this paradigm by requiring a two-pilot intervention on a safety-critical flight system cannot maintain the same level of safety.”

    The British Airline Pilots Association expressed similar concerns in comments it filed earlier this month.

    ALPA added that “if scenarios exist where the two-pilot intervention is not deemed extremely improbable,” Boeing should be forced “to implement design changes so that a two-pilot intervention is not required.”

    Manual-trim procedures are especially crucial during one rare but long-acknowledged failure scenario. The yoke-mounted electric trim switches are designed so that one cannot override the other. If one fails, such as by shorting out while commanding nose-down stabilizer inputs, the other can be used to stop those inputs, but not reverse them. 

    “This has the potential to leave pilots with much heavier stick forces arising from greater air loads on the horizontal stabilizer, thereby increasing the effort required to trim manually, as directed later in the procedure,” APA said. “This unique malfunction should be noted in the [runaway stabilizer] checklist, as the ability to use the main electric stabilizer trim to reduce control column forces is not available in all runaway stabilizer events.”

    Boeing’s revamp of the MAX flight control computer software began following the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610, a 737-8, and focused on the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) flight control law. Following the March 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, another 737-8, and the MAX fleet’s global grounding, the FAA ordered Boeing to expand its work beyond the MCAS—quickly identified as a common link between the accidents—and examine related failure scenarios such as runaway stabilizer as well as how pilots are trained to manage them. Each of the checklist changes stem from the expanded work, but only two of the eight modified checklists were changed to align with the MAX-specific software alterations.

    While the FAA is focused on reviewing Boeing’s proposed changes in light of how they affect the 737 MAX, the agency has said it will consider expanding any beneficial changes to the rest of the 737 fleet.

    “Ancillary changes that can enhance the 737NG will also be reviewed by Boeing,” the FAA said in its “preliminary summary” of its 737 MAX review released in early August. “The FAA will work with Boeing to ensure that any issues related to the 737 MAX design change that may apply to the 737NG will be addressed as applicable.”

    Sean Broderick

    Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.

  17. Tx, J.O. Way I read it, there was no EICAS on any B737's but that may not be technically accurate - just going by the report.

    Pg. 46, 47 of the Committee Report:

    Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System (EICAS)
    Boeing obtained an FAA exception to allow the company to not install an Engine Indicating
    and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) on the 737 MAX.269 Since 1982, an EICAS or its equivalent among Airbus airplanes has been common in newly certificated transport aircraft. It displays aircraft system faults and failures in the cockpit and helps pilots prioritize responding to multiple or simultaneous indications and alerts, which are often accompanied by aural alerts specific to the level of severity of a particular fault.270 But the exception from FAA relieved Boeing of the requirement that the 737 MAX must be equipped with a caution, alert, and advisory system that “[p]rovide[s] timely attention-getting cues through at least two different senses by a combination of aural, visual, or tactile indications” and that “[p]revent[s] the presentation of an alert that is inappropriate or unnecessary.”271 Instead, the 737 MAX largely uses legacy cautions, warnings, alerts, and advisories from the previous generation of the 737 aircraft.272

    . . . .

    In the end, the FAA accepted Boeing’s argument about the impracticality and the economic expense of installing EICAS on the 737 MAX.284 This meant that the 737 aircraft family, including the 737 MAX, would continue to be the only presently available Boeing commercial aircraft line that did not have an EICAS installed.285 Unfortunately, had the EICAS been installed on the Lion Air or Ethiopian Airlines flights, some experts believe it may have helped to alleviate pilot confusion—a contributing factor in both of those accidents.286

  18. Quote

    “The caution and warning system in the 737 is as archaic as the airframe design. I flew jets made far earlier than the first 737 with a better system,” said Woolman, a former B-52 pilot and Rockwell B-1 bomber flight instructor. “Properly analyzing aircraft failures can be like hunting for Easter eggs, especially if struggling with basic aircraft control.”

    In fact, the B737 design has no EICAS at all.

    On the trim wheel diameter-shrinkage, I did the "how many turns per degree" calculation for the NG/MAX last year sometime using an AMM and the numbers in this article are accurate, (14.6 turns per degree), and as mentioned and as reported in, (IIRC), the Ethiopian accident, the crew together couldn't move the wheel, I don't recall this accurately - I believe it was one of the simulator trials that the pilots couldn't move the wheel...due physical strength limitations due high speed.



  19. Concerns Expressed Over 737 MAX Redundancy, Manual Trim

    Sean Broderick September 21, 2020
    AOA sensors MAX 737
    Credit: Boeing

    WASHINGTON—Calls for an additional angle-of-attack indicator and concerns over the flight crew’s ability to manually trim the aircraft in an emergency are among the issues highlighted in the initial set of comments on the FAA’s proposed requirements to approve the Boeing 737 MAX’s service return. 

    Boeing’s proposed fixes including software modifications that use data from both MAX angle-of-attack (AOA) vanes to activate the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) flight-control law implicated in two MAX fatal accidents that led to the grounding. If they disagree by more than a defined range, the MCAS, which provides nose-down horizontal stabilizer commands, will not activate.

    “This is clearly an improvement on the original design” that used one sensor’s feed and meant MCAS could push the MAX’s nose down based on one feed of faulty AOA data, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) wrote in comments to the FAA. “[But] it would be preferable for the system to utilize three AoA sensors (as per the Airbus A320 family of aircraft) in which case ‘voting’ can be implemented to discard an erroneous AoA value. There are other systems onboard the aircraft requiring AOA input, so how will they deal with two sensors that disagree?” 

    Guy Woolman, a former Southwest Airlines pilot with 12,000 hours of 737 experience but none in the MAX, seconded BALPA’s call. 

    “There should be at least a third AOA and airspeed input,” he wrote in comments to the FAA. “I had several ‘IAS DISAGREE’ messages while flying [737 Next Generation variants]. There is certainly a lot of startle as the crew is forced to search for reliable airspeed ... Couple this with other seemingly dissimilar non-normal conditions and it is easy to see why things could get challenging in a hurry. Why not have a standby AOA gauge?” 

    EASA is considering mandating introduction of a third AOA sensor, but it is not expected to be a prerequisite to allowing the MAX back into service. 

    In both MAX accidents, Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (ET302) in March 2019, faulty AOA data triggered the MCAS, which commanded unneeded nose-down horizontal stabilizer movements. Neither crew reacted as Boeing thought pilots would, which included using cutout switches to disable the stabilizer motor and, if needed, manually turn a vertically-mounted trim wheel in the cockpit. Instead, they were confused by a cascading series of alerts and warnings, including a SPEED TRIM FAIL, and lost control of the airplane. The MCAS functionality was added to the 737’s speed trim system’s logic, and Boeing elected not to highlight it in pilot manuals or add a new alert light on the flight deck. 

    “The caution and warning system in the 737 is as archaic as the airframe design. I flew jets made far earlier than the first 737 with a better system,” said Woolman, a former B-52 pilot and Rockwell B-1 bomber flight instructor. “Properly analyzing aircraft failures can be like hunting for Easter eggs, especially if struggling with basic aircraft control.” 

    BALPA also raised concern about Boeing’s proposed manual-trim techniques. Investigators believe the ET302 pilots attempted to use manual trim, per Boeing’s instructions, to direct their 737-8’s nose up after the MCAS was disabled. But aerodynamic forces acting on the stabilizer made it too difficult to maneuver with the manually-linked wheel. 

    In its updated MAX training, Boeing emphasizes that both pilots may have to crank the wheel, a spool-shaped device mounted with round sides vertical between them to generate enough force to move the stabilizer. A draft training aid distributed in June illustrates the concept, with each pilot using one hand to turn the wheel, and the other to fly the aircraft. 

    “Requiring both crew members to turn the trim wheel simultaneously in a non-normal scenario is extremely undesirable and goes against all philosophies of having one pilot fly and one run the” quick reference handbook, or QRH, BALPA said. “No flight control system should require both pilots to operate it at any stage, let alone in an emergency.” 

    BALPA added that the newer 737’s smaller trim wheel compared to the 737 Classics, which created room on the flight deck for new displays, renders the manual-trim scenario even more challenging. Moving a 737 Classic horizontal stabilizer one degree, or unit, required about 10 turns of the trim wheel. On newer 737s, including the MAX, moving the stabilizer the same amount requires about 15 turns of the smaller-diameter wheel. Full nose down equates to a stabilizer at 4.2 deg nose down, meaning pilots would need to rotate a MAX’s trim wheel about 60 times to bring the stabilizer to neutral.  

    The public-comment period on the FAA’s proposals runs through Sept. 21. As of late in the afternoon on deadline day, more than 200 comments had been received, including many from members of the public that do not favor the MAX’s re-approval. 

    Comments will be considered by the FAA and, if appropriate, incorporated into a final directive outlining what changes the MAXs must undergo before they can fly again, and what training pilots will receive. The FAA plans to mandate a flight control computer software upgrade, some writing modifications, and new training. Specifics of the training programs are being reviewed and finalized in a separate process. 

  20. Quote
    4 hours ago, Specs said:

    I wonder what the fate of SMS will be after the dust from all this settles.

    Same principles at play... Airline self regulation. What could go wrong?

    It's just not that simple.

    First of all, SMS is about airlines flight safety management programs, not the manufacturer or the regulator and how each do their work. The manufacturer is expected to adhere to the highest possible standards and the regulator must ensure that that is the case. This whole Boeing thing, from the takeover of Boeing by McDonnell-Douglas in 1997 "reads" like, and I think should be examined from the point of view of NASA's problems which led to both the Challenger and Columbia accidents. This is an inter-organizational failure on a massive scale and can't be fixed without acknowledging this. Even as we are in a time when all words and actions are at risk of being politicized, I still think that this report has come closest to examining causes and Boeing would do well to keep quiet about impossible assurances of "doing better" and take what is said about their organzation seriously.

    I have seen SMS work well where an airline has a robust flight safety program fully supported by the CEO, the Executive Management and the pilots. I think SMS is far better than the old blame-and-enforce system which used to follow an accident and which was sometimes known as "tombstone safety".

    SMS is not the initial place to look either for cause, or solutions. Examining how NASA became better may hold answers, but only if they are seen and sincerely wanted. If other priorities continue to inform corporate decision-making at the top, then the same results as befell Boeing, will ultimately befall all other private or government organizations.

    Many here will recognize this point of view and the familiar references, but some may be new here so the link to both excellent books on Challenger and Columbia are:


    Link to the House Committee Report referenced in Marshall's post above, followed by a summary-page:

    September 16, 2020

    After 18-Month Investigation, Chairs DeFazio and Larsen Release Final Committee Report on Boeing 737 MAX

    From the Report: “The MAX crashes were… a horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA”

    Washington, D.C. — Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA) released the Committee’s final report on the Boeing 737 MAX. This report, prepared by Majority Staff, lays out the serious flaws and missteps in the design, development, and certification of the aircraft, which entered commercial service in 2017 before suffering two deadly crashes within five months of each other that killed a total of 346 people, including eight Americans.

    The Committee’s 238-page report, which points to repeated and serious failures by both The Boeing Company (Boeing) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), contains five central themes and includes more than six dozen investigative findings. These themes include:

    • Production pressures that jeopardized the safety of the flying public. There was tremendous financial pressure on Boeing and the 737 MAX program to compete with Airbus’ new A320neo aircraft. Among other things, this pressure resulted in extensive efforts to cut costs, maintain the 737 MAX program schedule, and avoid slowing the 737 MAX production line.
    • Faulty Design and Performance Assumptions. Boeing made fundamentally faulty assumptions about critical technologies on the 737 MAX, most notably with MCAS, the software designed to automatically push the airplane’s nose down in certain conditions. Boeing also expected that pilots, who were largely unaware that MCAS existed, would be able to mitigate any potential malfunction.
    • Culture of Concealment. Boeing withheld crucial information from the FAA, its customers, and 737 MAX pilots, including internal test data that revealed it took a Boeing test pilot more than 10 seconds to diagnose and respond to uncommanded MCAS activation in a flight simulator, a condition the pilot described as “catastrophic.” Federal guidelines assume pilots will respond to this condition within four seconds.
    • Conflicted Representation. The FAA’s current oversight structure with respect to Boeing creates inherent conflicts of interest that have jeopardized the safety of the flying public. The report documents multiple instances in which Boeing employees who have been authorized to perform work on behalf of the FAA failed to alert the FAA to potential safety and/or certification issues.
    • Boeing’s Influence Over the FAA’s Oversight Structure. Multiple career FAA officials have documented examples where FAA management overruled a determination of the FAA’s own technical experts at the behest of Boeing. These examples are consistent with results of a recent draft FAA employee “safety culture” survey that showed many FAA employees believed its senior leaders are more concerned with helping industry achieve its goals and are not held accountable for safety-related decisions.

    “Our report lays out disturbing revelations about how Boeing—under pressure to compete with Airbus and deliver profits for Wall Street—escaped scrutiny from the FAA, withheld critical information from pilots, and ultimately put planes into service that killed 346 innocent people. What’s particularly infuriating is how Boeing and FAA both gambled with public safety in the critical time period between the two crashes,” Chair DeFazio said. “On behalf of the families of the victims of both crashes, as well as anyone who steps on a plane expecting to arrive at their destination safely, we are making this report public to put a spotlight not only on the broken safety culture at Boeing but also the gaps in the regulatory system at the FAA that allowed this fatally-flawed plane into service. Critically, our report gives Congress a roadmap on the steps we must take to reinforce aviation safety and regulatory transparency, increase Federal oversight, and improve corporate accountability to help ensure the story of the Boeing 737 MAX is never, ever repeated.” 

    “The Committee’s thorough investigation uncovered errors that are difficult to hear, but necessary to confront about the 737 MAX certification,” Chair Larsen said. “This report, combined with the findings and recommendations from the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines investigations, National Transportation Safety Board, Joint Authorities Technical Review and other entities, serve as a roadmap for changes to the FAA certification process. The 346 victims of the two tragic crashes and their families, as well as the traveling public rightfully expect Congress to act. As the Committee moves into the next phase of oversight, I will continue to work with Chair DeFazio and my colleagues to address the significant cultural and structural deficiencies identified in the report in order to improve safety.”

    Additional information:

    At the direction of Chair DeFazio and Subcommittee Chair Larsen, the Committee launched an investigation into the design, development, and certification of the 737 MAX, and related issues, in March 2019, shortly after the second crash involving a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. As part of the 18-month long investigation, the Committee held five public hearings with more than 20 witnesses; wrote nearly two dozen oversight letters, obtained an estimated 600,000 pages of documents from Boeing, the FAA, and others; received information and insight from former and current employees who contacted the Committee directly through the Committee’s whistleblower link; and interviewed dozens of current and former Boeing and FAA employees.

    To access the Final Report, newly released accompanying records, including transcribed interviews of both senior Boeing and FAA officials about the 737 MAX, as well as past statements, hearing video, and more, click here.

    • Like 1
  21. Referenced in the article above posted by Marshall entitled, "The end of American history begins in America", by Hamid Dabashi, Al Jazeera

    End of empire
    The era of US dominion has now passed
    Andrew Bacevich

    June 29, 2020 9:32 AM

    The end of World War Two inaugurated the era of American dominion, with the United States politically, economically and militarily the most powerful nation on the planet. Yet throughout the subsequent period of American global ascendency, the American people endured a seemingly endless sequence of domestic crises, upheavals and disasters. Primacy abroad did not insulate them, convinced of their unique place in human history, from the trials and tribulations routinely befalling other, more ‘ordinary’ nations.

    Yet neither did trials at home undermine the deep-seated belief that history had summoned the United States — and no one else — to lead the world. So even as presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama wrestled with pressing challenges at home (for Truman there was race and McCarthyism, for Obama race and the Great Recession), they all, without exception, testified to the nation’s indispensability. They deemed it their duty to do so. All, therefore, found ways to prevent domestic problems from encroaching upon America’s assertion of singularity among nations. Leading the world took precedence over addressing the contradictions and shortcomings affecting the American way of life. So from 1945 until the end of the 20th century, creating ‘a more perfect Union’ took a back seat to venturing ‘abroad, in search of monsters to destroy’.

    Whatever the turmoil on the home front, this conviction that the United States was called upon to exercise global leadership remained unwavering. Even in 1968, when assassinations, racial unrest and widespread opposition to a deeply unpopular war brought the nation precariously close to unraveling, the conviction held. Two decades later, the fall of the Berlin Wall seemingly validated that conviction for all time. We were indeed, as presumably serious US officials proclaimed, the ‘indispensable nation’ and destined to remain so until the end of time. So we were led to believe.

    Now, a mere three decades since the end of the Cold War delivered its seemingly decisive verdict, the barrier between what happens ‘out there’ and what happens ‘back here’ has been breached. Foreign policy and domestic matters are becoming intermingled. As a direct consequence, American global leadership appears noticeably rickety.

    At a moment when media coverage suggests that Trump is everything and everything is Trump, it’s important to note that this intermingling dates from long before his presidency. It commenced on 9/11 when an event that was never supposed to happen — a devastating attack on the United States itself — did happen. Americans suddenly awakened to the fact that global leadership as practiced by the United States can produce painful blowback.

    Reinforcing this shock to the system were other unpleasant surprises. First came wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that the world’s mightiest military was supposed to win but did not, despite sustaining terrible casualties and expending trillions of dollars. Second came episodes of stunning ineptitude by political authorities. Hurricane Katrina provided one example among many, showing that the people in charge were clueless about how to protect the population for which they were responsible. Hard on the heels of Katrina came the worst economic crisis since the Depression, suggesting that the people charged with managing the economy were incompetent, on the take, or both.

    In 2016, the electorate responded by repudiating the establishment, voting into office a thoroughly unqualified presidential wannabe who promised to ‘drain the swamp’ and put ‘America First’. Donald Trump has kept neither of those promises. As the end of his first term approaches, the actual legacy of his presidency has now become clear: yet more ineptitude, cluelessness and incompetence, all reinforced by Trump’s trademark narcissism, vulgarity, blustering tough-guy posturing and casual dissembling.

    History will doubtless judge Trump harshly. As US president, he has proven to be an abysmal flop. Trump has failed to end the wars he vowed to end. For all his self- touted skills as a dealmaker, his record consists chiefly of unfulfilled promises. He also failed to address effectively — or even acknowledge — the threat posed by COVID-19. As a direct consequence of his administration’s belated and bungling response to the pandemic, the death toll in the United States now exceeds a staggering 125,000. Trump, of course, accepts no responsibility for that outcome. Coming hard on the heels of the pandemic is the worst economic calamity since Herbert Hoover occupied the White House almost a century ago. Hoover ‘owned’ the Great Depression. So too Trump ‘owns’ the economic consequences of the Great Lockdown. Yet again he refuses accountability.

    And finally, there is Trump’s typically callous and ham-handed response to the wave of civil unrest triggered by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

    Looking back on the nation’s recent past, baffled Americans are left to ponder two questions: how could this have happened? And what can we do to escape from the terrible straits in which we find ourselves?

    A partial answer to the first question is this: for too long, ruling elites allowed the purported obligations of global leadership to take precedence over tending to the collective wellbeing of the American people. This was a conscious choice made by leaders of both political parties. We are now living with the consequences of that choice, with the persistence of racism offering just one example of what neglect has produced. Yet it deserves to be emphasized: the neglect was not Trump’s doing; he was merely its ironic beneficiary. We are its victims.

    A preliminary answer to the second question must begin with this admission: the era of US dominion has now passed. So Americans can no longer afford to indulge in the fiction of their indispensability, cherished in elite circles. In fact, the sun has set on the American empire. Subordinating the wellbeing of the American people to ostensible imperatives of global leadership — thereby allowing racism, inequality, and other problems to fester at home — has become intolerable.

    A massive reordering of national priorities is required. It goes without saying that Trump is incapable of presiding over any such reordering. Yet whether anyone else in mainstream politics is capable of doing so remains very much an open question.

    Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. This article is in The Spectator’s July 2020 US edition.

  22. The plan that tests would be conducted over the U.S. makes either Moses Lake area out of YLW or offshore over the U.S. 200-mile limit out of YVR/YXX likely. Logistics are a bit more complicated if YLW in terms of picking up/dropping personnel.

    I wish Boeing and certainly the crew and all personnel involved with this work well. It's tough being the lesson for everyone else.