Covid-19, Aviation And Community Responsibility

59

What a difference a few days makes. I pushed the button on the previous blog about the impact of COVID-19 on aviation last Friday at 3:57 p.m. At the time, there were 148 known cases in the U.S. Today, there are 1323, a number that’s likely to be underestimated because U.S. testing remains limited, cumbersome and lengthy. If the virus is following the same exponential curve it has everywhere else, the true number is likely four times that.

Airlines have already reduced capacity and last night, President Trump ordered a 30-day restriction on airline travel from Europe’s Schengen Area countries—the ones with no borders. The U.K. and Ireland are excluded. The North Atlantic is the core of the international travel market for the airline industry and the impact of this restriction will be substantial.

The restriction applies to passengers, not flights, and specifically foreign nationals from the Schengen countries. Americans can continue to fly from Europe, but they’ll be routed through designated airports. I suspect many passengers—foreign nationals or Americans—will just cancel plans entirely and with fewer or no passengers, many flights will also be canceled. Delta, American and United have all cut flights and report drops in bookings of up to 35 percent.

Although airlines are parking airplanes, they have not yet announced furloughs. But for the time being, the hot pilot hiring binge is likely to pause. Whether that dents the equally vibrant flight training industry remains to be seen. This crisis won’t last forever, but I doubt if it will blow over in a month or two, either. I think all of us need to dig in for a slog.

In the course of reporting on this story, I came across a quote from Dr. Anthony Fauci. You of course know who he is: head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; the go-to guy for questions about epidemics. Here’s what he said on Tuesday: “We can’t be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago.” If that sounds a little oblique, let me translate. He wasn’t referring to handwashing. He’s signaling that social distancing—maybe aggressive social distancing—is coming and we all have a role to play. It means that if the coming shows—Sun ‘n Fun and even AirVenture—are on your radar, you have a decision to make. We, as a news organization, won’t be attending Sun ‘n Fun. AirVenture is too distant to decide at this juncture. As I was writing this blog, Florida governor Ron DeSantis urged organizers in the state to shut down events that will draw large crowds. No word from Sun ‘n Fun on what they’ll do.

In my view, governments around the world have profoundly failed in this crisis. China, especially, but also Italy, Iran and now the U.S. The mechanics of how a viral disease propagates exponentially are well understood, even if the specific virulence sometimes isn’t. What’s missing now is the decisive national leadership and political will to do what’s necessary to slow its spread. In China, authorities dallied in denial until it took draconian social distancing—literally locking people in their houses—just to flatten and reverse the curve. Italy followed a similar path, causing a near-collapse of the critical care network in Lombardy. The U.S. has failed abysmally in fielding testing kits, placing our tracking of the contagion far behind countries like Korea, which can perform more than 10,000 tests a day. If you are still comparing this to seasonal flu, you are being willfully ignorant. If you’d like a detailed analysis of the numbers thus far, here it is.

Because government leadership in the major venues—albeit not everywhere—has been two weeks behind the curve, responsible, informed citizens will have to step up. This is less about the risk of contracting the virus personally, but more so the larger community responsibility of keeping the contagion below the threshold limit of available critical care capacity. There are only so many ICU suites and ventilators available in the U.S. and it’s our duty, collectively, to make sure we need as few of them as possible.

And, as happened in Italy, if the outbreak worsens, it may come to doctors deciding who gets one and who doesn’t. Speaking of doctors—and nurses—they are on the front lines and much will be expected of them, at great personal risk. We owe them all that we can to avoid needing their care.

Personally, for me, this translates to cancellation of all travel and minimal local movements including the core of my day—daily gym visits. I’m avoiding not just crowds, but even meetings in closed spaces. For exercise, I can do my bike on the local rail trail and I’ve got a set of weights at home. That’ll do for now.

Giacomo Graselli, an Italian health official explaining the dire situation Italy is in, said, “The most important thing is to avoid a lot of people becoming sick. You have to teach the population that they have to behave in some way in order to avoid the spread of the disease.”  That means several things, but mostly it means avoiding social contact as much as possible. We might get lucky here. Warming weather could inhibit the virus or other circumstances could intervene to slow the contagion. But that’s hope, not planning. I certainly hope I don’t contract COVID-19, but my larger responsibility is to the herd. I aim to fulfill it. 

These are the CDC guidelines for personal social distancing.

FRIDAY, MARCH 13 UPDATE: Sun ‘n Fun has been postponed until May 5 to 10. See the AVweb news story here.

Other AVwebflash Articles

59 COMMENTS

  1. “… governments around the world have profoundly failed in this crisis. China, especially, but also Italy, Iran and now the U.S.” “What’s missing now is the decisive national leadership and political will to do what’s necessary to slow its spread.”

    Here we go again … if ONLY Governments (who are NOT MD’s — or mind readers) were doing their jobs. I can read between your lines.

    Blaming “national leadership and political will” is much akin to blaming the mythical “they.” What the heck are you talking about here? Get specific … just WHO are you talking about and just WHAT would you have them do (or have done earlier) beyond what’s already been done in the relatively short time that this situation blossomed “exponentially” from a problem in faraway China to a world wide pandemic? I have a funny feeling that you’re really intimating a failure at the Presidential level or at least the senior political levels. I hope not? I know you don’t want politics entering your aviation blog so I’m trying not to go there but … I wanna know … EXACTLY WHO and EXACTLY WHAT? Spell it out for us … don’t translate oblique statements. Tell us.

    I looked up 79 year old Dr. Fauci. He’s been at NIH for 52 years. 52 years! Since 1980, he’s been Chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. “Dr. Fauci became director of NIAID in 1984. He serves as one of the key advisors to the White House and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues and on initiatives to bolster medical and public health preparedness against emerging infectious disease threats such as pandemic influenza.” Just now as I’m typing, they’re calling him the 5-star General on the subject on TV. What the heck has THIS guy been doing all those years … investigating the sexual fantasies of tse tse flies with massive Government grants? Now he’s suddenly all over TV and testifying and warning us all with “oblique” statements and telling us we’re not prepared (sic). Beyond him, NIH has over 20,000 employees. And the other Agencies — likewise — have major employee numbers. What have all of them been doing? Living large off the Government grants playing with pet projects?

    “Government leadership in the major venues—albeit not everywhere—has been two weeks behind the curve.” Seems to me that “Lites” runs SnF and Jack Pelton runs EAA, not the Government. It’s not THEIR fault … it’s the fault of NIH and Dr Fauci, et al, to have warned us all earlier and have had systems in place to deal with such things. Massive numbers of “et al” being paid handsomely to see stuff like this coming and to have put into place defense mechanisms proactively to prepare us … kinda like all the food and blankets in the atomic bomb shelters of the 50’s and 60’s. And we haven’t even addressed the foreign (obliquely translated … China) supply chain on testing kits. I’ll bite my tongue there.

    My wife had an operation last week and asked for my help to do our weekly shopping today. I was taken aback at WalMart as to how many people were emptying the shelves of anything related to the subject du jour. The whole aisle of TP was empty. Bleach was gone. Alcohol was gone. One guy had half the remaining beer in the store in his cart. Sigh! From now on, I’m going there at 0300.

    If you sense that you’ve riled me up with this one … you’d be correct. Those “government” medical employees failed us … not the politicians. Politicians are all running away from DC for their breaks except for the Chief Chickenchoker (oblique statement) who — IMHO — IS acting decisively.

    I might skip SnF but I sure ain’t skipping Airventure. But I WILL be taking my Sears catalog with me.

    • This just in: Walt Disney World in Orlando just announced they will close temporarily beginning 3/15 until at least the end of the month. The Disney company announced closure of its Disneyland park in California earlier today.

      It’s hard for me to imagine how SnF can take place in the face of such mounting pressure, in spite of an announcement earlier today on the AOPA website that the show will go on. Something’s gotta give.

      Well written piece as usual, Paul –for what it’s worth, I think you’re doing it right.

    • Looks like Dr. Trump and the WH’s Center of political disorders bullied and silenced the CDC’s staff including Dr. Fauci. In the interim, the disease gained in spread and strength. A terrible and cruel decision. A despicable, selfish, irresponsible political act.

      • “Looks like?”
        Call me blind. Then show me some real evidence; not supposition.

        Yesterday, a sleepy politician called for “increased hospital capacity.”

        Here in thePeoples Republik, our fearless leaders have been REDUCING hospital capacity -deliberately – for the last decade. In an effort to constrain cost increases. Really.

        Turn on a dime? It takes a minimum of three YEARS to build an ADDITION to a hospital in Massschusetts.

        Meanwhile, the local Big Medicine hospital featured 9-hour wait times in its E.R. – BEFORE this Covid-19 fiasco befell us.

        We’re about to get a painful lesson regarding the dark side of just-in-time logistics.

        Pass the hand soap, please.

    • I’m sorry that you’re upset with my criticism of U.S. government actions on this outbeak. It’s goes with my job. You asked specifically where the shortfall was.

      The first case of Covid-19–wasn’t even called that then–appeared in the U.S. on January 15th. By February 22, there were 35, by February 28th, there were 119, by March 6, there were 200, on March 11, there were 696. Now there are over 1200. Yet on February 28th, President Trump in a press conference said U.S. cases “are going very substantially down, not up.” That’s a quote from the press conference at a moment when it was abundantly clear the exponential contagion was already established and his CDC staffers were telling him that. They said so at the press conference.

      The actual number of cases is suspected of being much higher because the roll out of testing has been a fiasco. The U.S. rejected the WHO-derived kit, made its own and wasted 10 days discovering it didn’t work. Now, nearly two months after the first U.S. case, the president has a press conference just *today* announcing accelerated testing. Yet he said on Monday, anyone who wanted a test could get one. This was not true.

      We’ve tested about 11,000 in the U.S. In Korea, whose deployment we are just now copying, can do up to 20,000 a day and have done more than 230,000. The tests are critical because they provide the data to marshall limited resources in coping with the outbreak. This is *primary governmental function.*

      By comparison, during the swine flu outbreak of 2009, 17 days after the genome was sequenced, the first test kits were shipped in volume through a collaboration of institutions and agencies. So CDC knows how to do this. Why they didn’t do it here represents a governmental failure and a big one. I don’t care who was responsible for this, I care that it gets fixed and avoided the next time.

      As for the current panic, it’s fashionable to blame the press for this. Be my guest. But if it weren’t for aggressive reporting, all you’d know is what the president tweets. All these cancellations you’re seeing are people waking up to the fact that this is a serious pandemic and they understand they have a part in stopping it through social distancing. This is another governmental failure, just as it was in Italy, where the message to isolate was just too unpalatable until the situation spun out of control, where it remains today.

      People are leading themselves. The government is trying to catch up.

      • I have absolutely no problem with personal proactivity in the matter and — in fact — you’ve jacked me up a bit over it. In that regard, you did good. I have cleaner hands than I’ve had in a while. Now I can dig a Cadillac out without fear. But now I’m PO’ed that I won’t get to see SnF this year (I’ll be gone). I saw your initial blog as attacking the President without due cause.

        My issue is with blaming the President for everything from soup to nuts on a timeline that — by your definition and my like research last nite — is pretty short. I defy EVERYONE in this blog to be as energetic as he. Whether you like or hate him (seems like a lot of folks fall into the later group here), he’s trying. I wonder what the people flapping their typing fingers here would do if THEY were suddenly living in his shoes. He’s NOT an MD; He has to depend upon medical advice from his staff, et al. For a time, they were the Keystone Kops personified and yet most of ’em have “PhD” after their names. We’re blaming him for advice that may not have been as good as it should. Just today I heard how long everyone’s Messiah took to act back in 2009. It was much worse but no one complained. I remember it distinctly because I was on a trans-oceanic cruise to UK then.

        I’m going to start becoming proactive in questioning just exactly what the Mission Statements for all those medical organizations are, what their budgets are, and why we weren’t prepared. If THEY can’t do better … we need to cut their funding massively. I’m going to take that up as a new raison d’etra.

        Others can say or believe anything they want … it is my opinion that all those alphabet soup agencies are partly to blame over his lack of timely reactions to the matter. As I said here, it’s much akin to the bomb shelters in the 50’s and 60’s. When that big siren went off and you knew it was ~30 min to your shelter or oblivion, it was too late to start digging a hole. “Duck and Cover” was not going to work. THOSE people should have recognized and acted upon some of the issues discussed here even in advance of CV19. If they needed HIS help … they know how to find him.

        As you know, I am a retired military man. During my almost 21 years, I learned to fall in line behind the Sr NCO’s and Officers whether I liked ’em or not. When I became a Sr NCO, I demanded strict accountability and rewarded those who worked with me proactively. Sass me and you’d be in deep doodoo. Opportunities to challenge orders were there but mostly you performed to your directions. It peeps me off when everyone from here to there are second guessing a guy who is more energetic than any 40 year old I know. Just an hour ago, I listed to some fool ‘journalist’ trying to trip him up after he acknowledged her for a question. He finally had to cut her off. PART of his job is to assuage the masses … not scare the crap out of ’em. Had he done that, the folks here would then be moaning about that, too. The guy just can’t catch a break IMHO. And THAT is what riled me up. I wonder what Plugs or Bernie would be doing … and in ya’ll’s hearts of hearts … you know the answer.

        You ARE correct in saying that we’re all in this together but I’d then ask … how many people died in car accidents since Jan 1? Likely ~ 6,000. How many died of drug overdoses? How many died of suicide. We’re over reacting here IMHO. Acting proactively is smart and good. But recognize that the timeline was insanely short.

        CUT THIS PRESIDENT SOME SLACK!

        • Re cut this president some slack: He was elected by people who were happy to cut some slack. The slack of his intellect and reasoning skills at one end versus the lack of accountability for him at the other end. A guitar string needs to be anchored at both ends to produce a true tone. So does a president need to be anchored in intellect, knowledge, experience and reasoning skills and also be accountable. Lacking any of those it becomes all slack and is just a Sh..t show.
          Pouserhood is not leadership.

    • Notwithstanding what the Feds do, Ohio’s governor has [quite surprisingly] handed down some fairly hefty restrictions; one is the cancellation of any public gathering of more than 100 persons. Spring break has been extended several weeks, as well. So, for essentially the first time ever, Ohio is ahead of the curve.
      It’s a PITA, this thing. But as someone with two risk factors, I don’t want to catch what, to some, may be a minor inconvenience. So, unlike many of the other ‘scares’, I’m all in on this one.
      Full disclosure: I’m an introvert, so it may be easier for me.

      • Baloney. All you have to do is go across the river to West Virginia( did that yesterday)or to Pennsylvania and you can do what you want. I am guessing Indiana is the same but a bit to far for me to drive to. As I said before the whole thing with this virus has been way overblown and the Ohio governor just demonstrated that once again. If domestic travel gets restricted aviation will again be stuck with the worse of this. I wish our glorious leaders would think about the consequences of these actions. I am no fan of New York politicians but for once the mayor of New York City finally did something that makes sense in refusing to close NYC city schools. Imagine the unnecessary disruption to families, especially single parent, now with their children home during working hours. It’s to the point now where the “cure” is worse than the problem in the first place, just like most of the “solutions” to 9/11. GA is still dealing with worthless “solutions” that restrict aviation, the DC SFRA is a perfect example. Unlike the idiot governor of Ohio, politicians need to stop and think about the real effects of their “got to do something” actions. BTW, I am flying a trip tomorrow, to another state, will use my own headset instead of the ship’s. Along with extra cleaning the company now does with the current virus situation, unless my trip cancels, I am not doing anything else different than usual. Sorry for my rant, now that I have finished I will demonstrate my contempt for the Ohio governor’s restriction and drive to Pennsylvania to do what I would have in Ohio.

  2. Paul you nailed it! Thank you. And thank you for being one of those “responsible, informed citizens will have to step up.” You just stepped up.

    Someone is asking what leadership should have done “beyond what’s already been done in the relatively short time that this situation blossomed “exponentially” from a problem in faraway China”? For starters, leadership should have immediately planned for pandemic readiness by implementing initiatives like test kit development and ICU bed provisioning as opposed to engaging in happy talk about warm weather coming soon and “this is just another hoax” so that the stock market would not tank. And much prior to events in China, leadership should not have squelched existing pandemic readiness. Chickens have come home to roost and the “Chief Chickenchoker” still doesn’t get it.

    • I see that you — like many — have a serious preexisting case of TDS disease, John. You do know that like CV-19, TDS is biphasic? In its first term, loss of logical thinking and hallucinations are the usual resultant. In its inevitable second term, the mortality rate is nearly 100% from cranial overpressures. This usually occurs in November. There’s little time left … I respectively suggest you get your affairs in order as your survival is seriously at risk. Coming to one’s senses is the only known cure for TDS.

      The Chinese first reported a pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan in Hubei province to the WHO on December 31, 2019. The first death occurred on January 10. On January 23, 2020, they locked down and quarantined Wuhan and other cities in that area of 11 million residents. In between those two dates, the Chinese tried to hide the issue and silence those who were announcing it, including a doctor who subsequently died of the virus. Four days later on January 27, the US CDC issued updated travel guidance for China and ordered CBP to check individuals for symptoms. On January 31, the President announced travel restrictions to from China effective February 2. Worth noting, “Plugs” immediately branded that action by the President as xenophobic and unnecessary; he forgot racist. I guess HE has a medical degree and knows better even though he usually can’t figure out where he is? So I challenge ALL of you who think President Trump has failed us on this issue … what more could he have done and what would YOU have done during this compressed period of time? If you, too, have TDS … keep it to yourselves.

      In the US, we have the HHS, CDC, NIH and other health organizations with budgets in the $billions. And we couldn’t have the necessary medical tools at the ready for a pandemic (sic). Dr. Fauci — as I have already reported — is now telling us that we are not prepared. So I’ll then ask … who’s job is it to first warn us and then pre-prepare the Country for such emergencies? When a war starts, you don’t call up corn farmers in Kansas, you call up the military to do what it prepares and trains for each and every day. Ya’ll have the right to your own opinion on the matter as do I. I am of the opinion that all of these organizations failed us, not the President who did act decisively. But then … I guess he coulda flown pallets full of money over to China to help them out sooner, no? I’m still waiting for my answer to WHO and WHAT.

      If there’s one place where I agree with Paul’s analysis here it’s that individuals now have to take this matter into their own hands. Business as usual is no longer appropriate. Cancelling SnF may well be called for pending further analysis of the problem while Airventure is far enough off that we can revisit the issue. He already said that. I see that EAA has cancelled its TriMotor tour short term, as well.

      Attacking this problem with political opinions and viewpoints is inappropriate and won’t help at all. We’re all learning a lot of lessons from this issue. Not the least of which is allowing our logistics and supply trains to emanate from China was a gigantic mistake that needs to be rectified ASAP. If they cut us off from necessary drugs and supplies, we’re all screwed.

      • Well written, Larry. The present stuation’s most valid lessons applying to the long term include trhe issue of critical goods and often services centered in a single geographic area – offshore – where any sort of control of the local environment is out of our hands.

  3. I still believe this thing is being overblown. Comparing the testing protocol with other countries is an apples and oranges comparison. Medical privacy laws here still apply. A lot of other countries have no such regulations. I myself have no intention of getting tested unless I start showing symptoms. There are other individual rights afforded by the US Constitution that have to be followed and using the excuse of stopping a disease with a fatality rate the same as the flu would be open to court challenges. Public events are one thing, telling(or ordering) Americans to not travel domestically will not go over well especially considering the low regard most Americans have for any government. The last time the Feds restricted domestic travel was during WWII. That was during a congressional declared war, something Congress has not had the will (for lack of a more descriptive word that is printable) to do since. My company has put in the aircraft additional cleaning materials in the planes and the cleaning crews are taking additional measures but no flights have been canceled yet. Restricting access at the US border for non-US citizens is one thing, but within the US, restrictions would be open to court challenges. I still wonder how long before some of the restrictions enacted by some states get challenged in court.

  4. Paul, your opinion matters and I hope the organizers of Sun n Fun finally acknowledge the fact that this year’s edition MUST be cancelled. There’s no potential loss of revenue or opportunities that can be justified at this point. The real opportunity here is prevent more damage by fooling people to think it’s ok to come.

  5. Paul, I appreciate the “b—-” it took to write this blog including posting some startling facts should anyone take the time to carefully study and corroborate. I read, re-read, and read again these statistics which represent the stark reality of this pandemic and the potential consequences for inaction, malaise, and apathy. I also spent time looking for scientific facts to refute these findings. Instead, the more research I did, the more it verified these conclusions. Each hour the accumulating, exponential numbers come in, they are verifying the accuracy of these warnings.

    I too do not want any part of this virus. But more importantly, I can see that if we do not take personal responsibility…today, now, immediately…to do our part to mitigate further contamination, our collective inaction will result in an almost instantaneous overwhelming of our hospital emergency services, it will overload the entire healthcare system.

    While some are not worried about the virus, they will become involved when emergency services are so taxed that any other trauma emergency service will have to wait because local emergency services are overwhelmed with critical care Covid-19 patients. Not only is Italy dealing with this catastrophe, Germany is now in the same shape.

    When I was aboard ship for carrier quals, there were times when we heard GQ, GQ, GQ…General Quarters…this is not s drill. This is not a drill. For a time, life nationally and locally will not be the same.

    Thanks for your efforts and sounding the clarion call.

  6. As I type this (in Germany) toilet paper and desinfectant fluids are being stolen from medical practices, including childrens cancer clinics. Try that shoe for humanity. Aggressive social distancing, people are running around with dust masks (!) , Mercedes Benz putting staff on break, schools closing for ~ a month.

    Meanwhile, the first female COVID 19 patient has been released from the hospital after 11 days. 85% of people could have it, its this time of year when people show flu and influenza symptoms by default. I’ve been sniffing for a week, completely normal for this tine of year.

    I cancelled all 2020 events in 2019 and BOY/ GIRL/ UNDETERMINED am I glad I don’t have flights or hotels booked anywhere.

    Strategically smart, completely well executed mass- panic and hysteria. The best comes out in people who are challenged beyond their usual bread and butter lifestyle.

    A local restaurant that is usually busting was dead- on wiped empty of people last night. The economical impact of COVID 19 will be remembered 10 years from now. Well done, dear Chinese friends from Wuhan. Well done!

  7. Paul

    Thank you for your perspective and the link to the Medium.com article. I agree with you 100% and have recommended it as reading to many acquaintances.

    Countries that have “flattened” the COVID occurrence curve achieved that goal through government recommended/mandated self quarantine and aggressive social distancing.

    As you state,regardless of one’s concern for their own health, broader social responsibility entails doing everything possible to slow the spread of this new viral illness in order to avoid overwhelming our health care system. Current information suggests a person can spread the disease before any symptoms develop. The article you linked to says that the virus is quite contagious, there is no current vaccine or herd immunity and it will spread throughout all societies. The current proven practice is strict social distancing to minimize the number of people who require acute medical care at any one time.

    Personally I will practice a high level, but not absolute, self quarantine and absolute social distancing. I hope to not contract the disease but primarily I do not want to play a part in spreading what appears to be a highly communicable virus.

    The failure of many US government agencies and private organizations to recommend much less mandate these precautions in a timely manner is disheartening.

    Perhaps you could further highlight the link to the article that got your attention.

  8. Paul:

    Well, the chance of being exposed is virtually 100%. So, why not be an early adopter? Go to SnF and get sick before the rush and before the medical system gets all clogged. 😉

    Best

    Vince

  9. The failure to take action on this global pandemic that was predicted does not fall on the CDC, NIH or any other governmental agency. They do the research and develop plans for guidance for the medical industry to correlate programs for hospitals and health programs to follow. They don’t create budgets or laws to follow or penalize hospitals not following guidelines. Politics and the White House determines the course of action in emergencies. COVID-19 is an emergency the President failed to take action on. If anyone remembers past history, Bush failed to take action during hurricane Katrina with an inept Brown heading a gutted FEMA. Republicans gutted FEMA as Brown had no idea of how to use FEMA for disaster relief. Once again, an America’s President has failed to act in haste, ignoring the CDC and NIH by pooh poohing COVID-19 as nothing more than a flu. Ignorance delayed a response only the President can muster the agencies to act, not the agencies to act on their own since they do not control the emergency monies needed to fund on the spot lab tests or staffing during an emergency the rest of the world is already dealing with. The draconian measure of Wuhan quarantining its province state was the only way to block travel in and out of the state and seems successful in stemming the tide of new outbreaks. Italy is already doing the same in less fashion. Where is the USA response? March and now a decision was made to block incoming air traffic from Europe? COVID-19 is already here. Yet the politicians are struggling to vote on a $8 billion dollar funding program to staff emergency labs and hospitals. Three months to determine bow is the time to fund an emergency health plan? Slow witted is one way to describe the President refusing to act swiftly. Don’t blame the agencies reporting their findings and imploring the President to act in the name of US health.

    • Fred, you’ve got your head screwed on straight and you know what time it is (I’m sure you don’t me to tell you). Your description is the reality of how this all works (or in this case, does not work).

    • Woe be to the department head who offers a contrary advisory. There are several examples of crippled administrations or at least, terminations, from this exact scenario in the wake of this presidency. Fall in line or GTFO.

      Swamp drain? More like brain drain.

  10. Thank you Paul for sharing the article and link to Medium.com. This was the first time I have really understood the ramifications of this pandemic. All of the people here should do the same. In my opinion, I do blame this administration for the lack of leadership and completely dismissing it as a hoax. It is too late now. We all need to get comfortable working by ourselves and keeping distances for the next few months.
    Mt wife works in a hospital and I worry about her not only getting it but spreading it to other Dr.s and patients.

    • In my view, this can’t be repeated often enough. Health care workers are most at risk and they don’t enjoy the luxury of social distancing. Nothing is more important than flattening the steepness of the onset curve. And the only way to do that now is to stay home, and/or out of crowds and public spaces as much as possible.

      The government–and yes, President Trump–have failed to convey this emphatically enough because it’s a politically unpalatable message and connotes panic. It is not panic. It’s orderly urgency. I fear we may have already passed that tipping point, however.

  11. Covid-19 is not the enemy, it is not the REAL threat, the Chinese are. It’s time to wake up and smell the roses. It’s time for all US industry to get out and stay out. The Chinese currently have us holding our ankles and have been for decades. They are the real short and long term threat. Wake up America.

  12. As of my writing, 13 March, 14:45 Zulu, in the US there have been 1,701 confirmed cases and 40 deaths.

    I’m curious if anyone will be tracking the confirmed jobs lost and suicides as a result of financial ruin, isolation, and pandemic fear? I imagine the result will be far higher than the Chinese flu.

      • Exactly my point on my earlier post. We are still dealing with the government’s “cure” after 9/11, especially aviation. Who knows what this latest overblown “cure” will do, or the lasting unnecessary damage done to our economy. As far as I am concerned giving up personal freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution as long as I am not showing symptoms is not an option. More people die from auto accidents or the flu and no one panics over that.

  13. Scheduled transport aviation (e.g. US Part 121 carriage) is incredibly safe. One major reason is that it gathers evidence, learns from it how to make things safer, then takes those actions. Another major reason is a safety culture that values admitting mistakes and near misses so that others can learn from it. Another major reason is regulation that enforces applying safety lessons even when it drives up costs.

    Contrast this with how the US administration has been responding to the COVID-19 epidemic.

    @Larry S, you ask, ‘Blaming “national leadership and political will” is much akin to blaming the mythical “they.” What the heck are you talking about here? Get specific … just WHO are you talking about and just WHAT would you have them do (or have done earlier)’?

    Here’s one specific action. Around May 2018, John Bolton, National Security Advisor appointed by Donald Trump, pushed out Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer and eliminated the global health security team he oversaw. That left the White House without anyone focused solely on global health security. That team was not rebuilt. “Health security is very fragmented, with many different agencies,” said J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It means coordination and direction from the White House is terribly important. ” (Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/05/10/top-white-house-official-in-charge-of-pandemic-response-exits-abruptly/) Bolton and Trump and the administration a) could have not broken up that capability, and b) could have rebuilt it.

    There are plenty of other examples — but this is an aviation blog.

  14. I find it amusing reading the post here on a supposedly Aviation Blog, how so many self proclaimed experts in such things as medical, political and administration expound their expert opinion in feint concern when they really are only interested in relieving their pent up TDS hatred. I have spent many hours in the cockpit and I am not surprised at all the expert opinions, nor am I impressed with those opinions. Monday morning quarter backs always make the touchdown pass, or in aviation, clear sky investigations make it easy to see what happened and ask why did he/ she do that. Stick to aviation folks, I’m sure you will sound smarter and just might make a contribution instead of parroting what you read.

    • It’s not Monday morning quarterbacking to point out that we’re still in the first half and the quarterback is throwing interceptions, fumbling on the easiest of running plays, and getting sacked consistently because he didn’t study the playbook and his hand-picked linemen, backs, and receivers are third-string benchwarmers.

      • It’s Monday morning quarterbacking unless you have been in the game and I am pretty much up on my history and I don recognize your name on the list of US Presidents. Did I miss one? But the main point is, this is, or at least I thought was an aviation site. If not I guess I should just move on, I’m not interested in another Trump bashing site full of liberal rambling.

    • I have some big news for all you’se boys here. “Tom S” above is the guy who taught me that when you pull back on the stick and push forward on the throttle, the houses get smaller … 49 years ago at a USAF Base in northern CA. He’s a great guy who probably forgot more about aviation than all the rest of us here ever knew? And, I’m here to tell you that he’s pretty darned good at wheeling an Airbus 330 around the world!

      Tom is a retired Captain who last flew the A330 internationally and has well over 25K hours. We were last together during the 2009 swine flu pandemic returning to the US. He tells me that as a senior Captain, they were never made aware of much of anything officially during that subset pandemic of the 1918-19 Spanish flu problem. Why? Because the (then) President wanted his ObamaCare Act to pass so the media and all the talking heads zipped up their pie holes and negative comments for the most part. Everyone THEN didn’t have much to say about it all. But NOW — in just over two months — everyone is attacking the current President because he shoulda done this and he shoulda done that and yada, yada yada. To those of us on the Right … it’s getting mighty, MIGHTY old. I don’t think anyone here could put up with the attacks he has and yet still do the job. I’m certain of it.

      Tom is trying to point out that the — I’ll say it — Trump Derangement Syndrome stands out in many of the comments here. If you lean that way, you’d have no problem with it. If you don’t — as we don’t — you’d have a major problem with it. If the blog had stayed on point … i.e. “AVIATION AND COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY” without intimating that the President didn’t do his job, it woulda been fine. But even in the blog itself there was negative connotations and off point intimations … which set me off early with comment #1. For Jim D … I call your attention to the fact that President Trump took on John Bolton and then fired him. And … during the early time of this CV-19 problem, he was dealing with bogus impeachment issues. Frankly, if it were me, I’d tell ya’ll to stick it where the sun don’t shine and move on to living a normal life.

      Example: Raf (a guy I like and respect for what he’s doing for Coachella Valley, CA kids) said:
      “Dr. Trump and the WH’s Center of political disorders bullied and silenced the CDC’s staff including Dr. Fauci.” Oh really How did he do that? When did he do that? And why did you couch it that way, Raf? How’s about if I badmouthed the CVYAP kids … how would that feel to you? Seems to me that the good Dr Fauci’s puss along with many others has been on TV and in the Congress day on day. But you can say what you said, get away with it and others agree and then we’re off and running bad mouthing the President. Give it a rest people. He’s the President and … YA’ll ain’t. If you think you can do better, the left is in dire need of someone good to run this fall. Toss your hat into the ring. Who knows? President Paul B has a nice ring to it.

      We COULD be in deep doo-doo over this virus issue, at least short term. Are we — as pilots of every kind and experience — going to do OUR part to keep it from happening in our world here (you know, the Community) or digress into bad mouthing the most energetic President I’ve ever seen in my seven decades clomping around the planet. See my point.

      Paul, you made some good — no, excellent — points vis-à-vis the CV-19 virus and what “we” aviators can do to help ourselves AND “the herd.” Stick to it. Watch what and how you write because there’s a whole hoard of us out here — myself included — who think you’re the greatest aviation writer since Orville and Wilbur wrote to the Smithsonian. (And you ain’t too bad at videography, either). Act like it and think twice before you push the button. YOU are the leader here are WE are your minnions. Most of us go too far once in a while but lets not let it become the normal MO. I can get that crap from CNN or MSNBC or the ladies at noon. You GET respect when you GIVE respect. I learned that early on as a senior NCO in the USAF. You get more done when you lead a group than when you try to push ’em uphill.

      Years ago, you reeled ME in for calling a certain person “Mikey.” (I have a LONG memory!) Now I’m reeling YOU in for similar reasons. Let’s call it a draw. PLEASE!

      Now then … it’s time for me to crawl back into the woodwork before Joe P hollers at me. Besides, I gotta find out if any Ancient Aliens have invaded the planet today anyways.

  15. Thanks Paul. Aviating has taught me a very good thing: Identify undeniable facts and plan ruthlessly around them. From last light to fuel state to fatigue levels. And the human factors … turning back early or saying “no” on the ground is often the best plan, along with trusting the decision making and not second-guessing.

    The ventilator issue and the limits of “cohorting” the very ill are hard numbers and it’s been great seeing the talk in recent days about keeping the rates of infection down. Working backwards from the facts and thinking big picture. Good stuff. Facebook has been a source of useful gossip for a change!

    There is an excellent rundown on medium dot com.

    Despite the improved safety-net aspects of most governments, we’ve generally gotten into a coffin corner in recent decades. More fear of upsetting business, more reliance on just-in-time supply chains, then the slide away from open government and honest communication. Disenfranchisement used to just be the longest word I remember from school – now we’re living it. Trump and his ecosystem are going to get a lot of people killed sadly but they’re also symptoms of something we’ve allowed to slide for a long time. It’s on all of us in the end even though none of us are specifically to blame. Maybe this is the reminder we needed that what we each do actually matters. My hygiene decisions will affect people I don’t know.

    Larry I don’t know you but please, now is not the time for hyperventilating. We’re all worried. This virus is not the only harmful and contagious thing going around right now.

  16. Stick to aviation folks,”
    So why didn’t you?

    You had plenty of opportunity to comment on Paul’s socially responsible blog and others’ comments on the impact this virus is having on aviation, maybe offer some suggestions, sympathy for those of us in aviation who are directly affected, or just give general goodwill to all. Maybe thank Paul for his non-aviation mentions of not going to his gym, talking about health care workers, ICU suites and ventilators, and for his mature, objective and responsible take on government’s responsibility, and its documented and fact-checked failure to act timely in this.

    Most of the posters here can discriminate when the subject veers off, around, or over the aviation theme at core. It’s rarely problematic. If you need a test for the virus, sir, I hope you can find one. Here at the local VA, we still don’t have enough.

  17. So far, this epidemic has shown a doubling of the number of people affected every five days.
    And no-one can say for sure how long the incubation period is — some people seem to be sick, even very sick, within 48 hours of being in contact with carriers — others seem to only get sick 20 days later.
    So if everyone follows the advice (which requires help from the government to businesses affected, otherwise they will carry on working just to be able to stop the bank from taking the house), the number of cases will probably double in the next five days, and only then start to slow.
    In places like Qoms, where there are lots of elderly men, more inclined to put faith in some supreme being than science, (and where newspapers and other media are discouraged) they are using mechanical diggers to make mass graves.
    Couldn’t happen in Florida, could it?

  18. I will offer one last suggestion to a couple of you who asked pertinent questions concerning what to do as aviators. Do what you always do, plan for the worst, hope for the best and if you have to use your planning and knowledge do it. If sick stay home. 9/11 we shut down everything for a few days and curtailed flying for a few years. This will pass. In 50 + years in aviation I have seen much worst. We survived.
    I also over those years trained and prepared many times for an engine fire. Never had one, yet.., I have been asked as most of you as pilots have, have I ever had an emergency’. In 30k plus hours a few, but due to training and preparation most were non events. The one event I remember that was most testing was one you will think comical at this time. It had to do with the toilets, blue rooms, shutting down. All of them on an AB 330. We were only 10 minutes to commit point and I had to decide should I continue on for 5 more hours, the total flight time was 9 hours, to destination or turn back and land to get them fixed at an airport less than 2 hours away. I never trained for that… but I could imagine what was going to happen in about three hours when 200 of the 300 including me had to use the bathrooms. We turned back…
    Aviation as I have said has survived many such set backs. What you should be discussing is how do, we keep an eye on the politicians going forward who want to sneak riders in on bills, to prevent them from injecting something that will do more harm to our rights to pursue our passion or profession.
    Learn from the past.

    Next just like an engine fire, first thing, don’t PANIC. Fly the plane..then do what you do best.
    Mitigate the situation.

    let the politicians point fingers, they are good at it. I should say that’s about all they are good at.. This. Is not the place to campaign for your choice of candidate.

    PS.. Larry S was a great student and went on to do some pretty amazing things in aviation.
    Can’t believe that was almost 50 years ago…

  19. There are some people here that would’ve looked Noah straight in the eye and denied the Flood because no one individual raindrop could be held responsible.

    It’s like arguing with moon-landing conspiracists:

    “Oh yeah? Well whatta ‘bout THIS?!” [show evidence, prove that point wrong]
    “But this, too!” [show evidence, prove that point wrong]
    “And this?!” [show evidence, prove that point wrong]
    “don’t forget this, too!” [don’t have evidence at hand to disprove that one point]
    “See? I KNEW I was right!”

  20. This kind of separation (social isolation) is necessary to slow and eventually stop the spread of the virus. Those Asian countries that went through SARS and learned from it were better prepared for this outbreak and have had much better outcomes, despite being next to China. Italy didn’t have that experience, didn’t have the protocols in place, and suffered as a result. How will the U.S. end up? Hopefully in better shape than Italy.

    And when we do, there’s going to be a vocal minority that says, “See? Nuthin’ much happened, it was all an over-reaction!”

    PS – I’m going to socially isolate myself in the hangar. But if spend too much time in contact with the airplane I could end up catching AIDS – Aviation-Induced Divorce Syndrome

  21. Calm down, Kirk. Don’t be hasty and lose your wife to the incessant media overkill on this subject. The US death rate per million in the US is the second lowest on the planet … 7 in a million of population. That’s lower than the death rate from flying E-AB’s. Don’t give up your liberties or become neurotic. There are liable to be more deaths from suicide and heart attacks over he issue than CoV-19 itself. Just use some common sense.

    Here are some alternate instructions on the subject of “Germs and the Immune System” from a New York ‘street guy’ you likely know and who knows a bit about super virus’. As you say, HE was prepared …

    youtube.com/watch?v=CnmMNdiCz_s

  22. I really liked Jim D’s post. Modern aviation systems and procedures are the poster child for a process that is fact based, non punitive, and is designed to learn from people’s mistakes.

    Sadly the brutality politicized dynamic surrounding the response to the pandemic, especially in the US, but prevalent in most of the rest of the world, is the exact opposite of the methods that have been so effective in making aviation so safe

    The only answer I see is to embrace the central concepts of most faiths. Be kind and help your neighbours, take care of your family and your community, don’t be selfish.

    • Thank you David G for referencing Jim D’s comment and modern aviation safety culture. SOPs are one thing. Honest self evaluation after the performance is another. My 50 plus years “in the game” culminated in the opportunity to fly with and help form a culture in a civilian self regulating part 91M group which to this day intentionally values and practices a just safety culture. The emotional, sometimes humiliating bottom line there is the requirement to self confess after every mission during a required post flight “two minute debrief” which we gleaned from Bombardier Safety Standdown, applicable in almost any human endeavor:

      1. Safety: Were safety margins eroded at any time? If so, how, where, when and why?
      2. Standards: Were flight standards compromised in any way? If so, how, where, when, and why?
      3. Unanswered Questions: What events prompted questions in our minds that were never adequately answered?
      4. Where might I / we have executed at a higher level?

      An honest engagement in such a debrief demands utmost honesty, is never ever perfunctory, is sometimes humiliating but always therapeutic.

  23. ”What you should be discussing is how do, we keep an eye on the politicians going forward who want to sneak riders in on bills, to prevent them from injecting something that will do more harm to our rights to pursue our passion or profession.
    Learn from the past.“

    You’re not going to stop this, not in the short term anyway. Politicians will and always have held bills hostage for their own personal benefit. Holding up a bill that benefits the majority because of the hostage taking of a few politicians would not be wise in the short term. The “hostage taking politicians” can be dealt with later (and should be) when time is not as critical as it is now.

    Exiting China as fast as possible of all our manufacturing, prioritizing those sectors that have the greatest negative impact on our society from a health care to economic must happen immediately and this includes aviation obviously. Over the last four decades we have sold our souls to the Chinese for the almighty dollar and we are now paying the price. All you have to do is listen to the threats and rhetoric coming out of Beijing the last few days. That should scare the heck out of everyone here.

  24. So I signed up for this site just so I could leave a comment. I will delete my account immediately after I post a response to this lazy, pathetic article. It’s really a shame, because it looks like it could have been a nice site. Paul, by being so disgustingly political, you have done a major disservice to AVweb specifically, and the flying community in general. It’s a shame that in every aspect of life these days, there is no shelter from hacks like you who use whatever platform they have available to spew hatred and division. This is not a time for finger pointing. This, above all times since 9/11, should be a time when we put our differences aside and come together as people against a common enemy….but not the likes of you. No, you would rather use your platform to try and score cheap political points against someone you just don’t like. This someone happens to be the President…Your President. I’ll be the first to say that you have every right to your opinion, but that’s not what I came to this site to read. Maybe it’s just me, but I had the crazy notion that it was an aviation site. It seems like you’d be more at home around the Twitter crowd than aviators.