Tui plane in ‘serious incident’ after every ‘Miss’ on board was assigned child’s weight



A software mistake caused a Tui flight to take off heavier than expected as female passengers using the title “Miss” were classified as children, an investigation has found.

The departure from Birmingham airport to Majorca with 187 passengers on board was described as a “serious incident” by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

An update to the airline’s reservation system while its planes were grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic led to 38 passengers on the flight being allocated a child’s “standard weight” of 35kg as opposed to the adult figure of 69kg.

Author(s): PA Media

Publication Date: 8 April 2021

Publication Site: The Guardian

How a Software Error Made Spain’s Child COVID-19 Mortality Rate Skyrocket



“Even though I didn’t know what the problem was, I knew it wasn’t the right data,” Soler realized once he got his hands on the Lancet paper. “Our data is not worse than other countries. I would say it is even better,” he says. Pediatricians across the nation contacted Spain’s main research institutes, as well as hospitals and regional governments. Eventually, they discovered that the national government somehow misreported the data. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, but Soler says the main issue is that patient deaths for those over 100 were recorded as children. He believes that the system couldn’t record three-digit numbers, and so instead registered them as one-digit. For example, a 102-year-old was registered as a 2-year-old in the system. Soler notes that not all centenarian deaths were misreported as children, but at least 47 were. This inflated the child mortality rate so much, Soler explains, because the number of children who had died was so small. Any tiny mistake causes a huge change in the data.

Author(s): ELENA DEBRÉ

Publication Date: 25 March 2021

Publication Site: Slate

State’s Vaccine Plan Failed, Causing Disorder and Mistrust



In the months leading up to the first COVID-19 vaccine shipments, Washington state health officials agonized over which residents should be vaccinated before others. They surveyed 18,000 people and convened focus groups, debating race, age and essential occupations.

But unlike some other states, the state Department of Health (DOH) neglected to plan for basic logistics that would have allowed for quick vaccination of those most vulnerable to the disease.

They didn’t enlist the National Guard. They didn’t centralize vaccine appointments. Key scheduling and reporting software arrived late. Providers were given vials but no strategy to process patients.


Publication Date: 16 February 2021

Publication Site: Governing

Federal Reserve Financial-Services Systems Disrupted for Hour



One of the services taken offline was the Fedwire Funds Service, which the Fed describes as “the premier electronic funds-transfer service that banks, businesses and government agencies rely on for mission-critical, same-day transactions.” Entities use the service to send or receive payments, settle positions with other financial institutions and to submit tax payments, among other activities.

Also affected were FedACH, an automated clearinghouse network that enables debit and credit transactions, and Fedwire Securities, which provides transfer and settlement services for securities issued by the U.S. Treasury, government agencies and government-sponsored housing enterprises.

The first service to be restored — at 2:17 p.m. ET — was the Fed’s central bank programs, which include setting interest rates and allowing financial institutions to review and manage the money they hold at the Fed, called reserves. Fedwire and FedACH were back shortly before 3 p.m.

Author(s): Paul Kiernan and Orla McCaffrey

Publication Date: 24 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Public Health Systems Still Aren’t Ready for the Next Pandemic



Like public health officials everywhere, Dr. Jeffrey Duchin marvels at the miraculous production of highly effective vaccines against COVID-19 in mere months.

But Duchin, head of public health in Seattle and King County, Washington, doesn’t dwell on the only triumph of the pandemic response. Instead, he quickly pivots to the huge deficiencies plaguing the rollout of those lifesaving injections.

The lack of planning and coordination. The insufficient workforce and training. The inadequate public messaging and outreach. And the failure to create a uniform database to track inventory and equitably distribute shots.

“We’re seeing the consequences now of a complete and utter failure to ensure we have a full and robust vaccination system,” Duchin said. The chaotic execution of state and local vaccination programs is only the latest in a series of missteps by public health departments during the worst pandemic in more than a century. They include lackluster testing, contact tracing and data collection, and the failure to protect minority communities, which have borne the brunt of this disease.


Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Publication Site: Governing

What went wrong with America’s $44 million vaccine data system?



The chaos of the vaccine rollout in the US has been well documented: states receiving half their expected doses; clinics canceling first shots because of unreliable supplies; people endlessly hitting “Refresh” on sign-up websites or lining up outside clinics without an appointment, hoping for a spare shot. 

The CDC saw this coming.

“VAMS was intended to fill a need that states and jurisdictions were not equipped to do themselves,” says Noam Arzt, the president of HLN Consulting, which helps build health information systems. 

Author: Cat Ferguson

Publication Date: 30 January 2021

Publication Site: MIT Technology Review