The Wall Street Journal - 16.03.2020

(Ben Green) #1

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. ** Monday, March 16, 2020 |A


NASA is considering extending
the timeline to start establishing
a base for humans on the moon.
Trump administration officials
have long said plans to return
U.S. astronauts to the lunar sur-
face also had to simultaneously

lay the groundwork for setting up
living and working facilities there.
National Aeronautics and
Space Administration budgets
and policies were built around the
concept of using an orbital stag-
ing platform, called a lunar gate-

way, to assemble crews, vehicles
and materials for missions to be-
gin construction of bases on the
moon. Such missions, possibly
shipping stockpiles of water, food
and building materials, were sup-
posed to start no later than 2025.

But Saturday,Doug Loverro,
NASA’s top human-exploration of-
ficial, signaled that schedule could
slip at least a year. Mr. Loverro
also said significant changes to
the gateway are intended to re-
duce overall cost and risk.

In public remarks last week,
Mr. Lovero told an agency advi-
sory committee that major
spending and technical hurdles re-
quire revamping and, at least for
now, simplifying moon priorities.
—Andy Pasztor

NASA’s Plan for Lunar Base Is in Limbo as Timetable Slips


are smaller than rotaries and
often require cars to slow down
to around 15 miles an hour.
Converting an intersection
with a traffic signal to a round-
about results in a 78% decrease
in fatalities and injuries, ac-
cording to the Federal Highway
Administration. The downside
has been more crashes, mostly
fender-benders, at many two-
lane roundabouts.
The crash problem has been
a “dirty little secret” in the

traffic field, said Letty Schamp,
deputy engineer for the city of
Hilliard, Ohio. “Now people are
talking about it.”
Ms. Schamp considers one
roundabout her baby because
she has worked on the project
since it began more than a de-
cade ago, when the area had
few roundabouts. The two-lane
circular intersection has had
more than 660 crashes since it
opened in 2012, averaging 82 a
year. That is compared with

eight a year at the intersection
that existed previously, city fig-
ures show.
The roundabout was in-
tended to add capacity and im-
prove traffic flow while reduc-
ing speeds, without creating a
sea of asphalt, and it achieved
those goals, she said. About
35,000 vehicles pass through
each day.
Hilliard resident Pam Sara-
niero didn’t realize she had to
yield to cars in both lanes of

the roundabout, and learned
the hard way. In January, she
said she saw a Ford Escape
moving in the inner lane as she
approached the roundabout.
Then she drove into the circle,
hitting the Escape and knock-
ing the front bumper off her
Honda Accord.
In hindsight, she said she
wrongly assumed the other
driver would loop around the
roundabout rather than exit
across her path. “It was my

fault, absolutely,” the 67-year-
old retiree said.
Jane Wahl, who also crashed
there in January, said ap-
proaching drivers often race
into the roundabout. “Not ev-
erybody has the same attitude
about what the rules are in
these roundabouts,” she said.
Last year, Hilliard launched
a public-outreach campaign,
and officials modified signs
and lane markings. The 63
crashes in 2019 were the few-
est since the roundabout
opened, though Ms. Schamp
said she isn’t ready to declare
victory. While she remains bull-
ish on roundabouts, she said
she isn’t keen to build any
more two-lane versions.
Of the more than 6,
modern roundabouts that have
been built since around 1990,
roughly a quarter have multiple
lanes in some configuration,
according to a database main-
tained by Oregon transporta-
tion engineering firm Kittelson
& Associates Inc.
“We’re trading a severe
crash—say, a T-bone crash at a
conventional signalized inter-
section—for a fender-bender.
Nine out of 10 engineers are
willing to make that trade,”
said Lee Rodegerdts, a princi-
pal engineer at Kittelson, which
is working on the federal study.
“It’s a fender-bender problem,
but it’s one we’re very actively
trying to solve.”

City planners and engineers
are stumped over why so many
drivers can’t handle something
as simple as a roundabout.
Roundabouts have prolifer-
ated around the U.S. in recent
years, arriving in some areas of
the Midwest and West for the
first time. Yet even years after
some are installed, driver con-
fusion persists. And with con-
fusion comes fender-benders.
Traffic engineers say the
majority of crashes in two-lane
roundabouts occur either be-
cause drivers don’t yield to cir-
culating traffic, or they make
improper lane changes once in
the roundabout.
Authorities have boosted
public education, tweaked signs
and modified roadway designs
in search of solutions. The fed-
eral government is leading a
study on drivers’ failure to
yield to traffic when entering
two-lane roundabouts, a major
cause of collisions. State trans-
portation departments from
Washington to New York are
helping fund the research.
“We just need to find out a
reason why,” said Wei Zhang,
who manages intersection-
safety research at the U.S. De-
partment of Transportation.
Roundabouts differ from
higher-speed rotaries common
in the Northeast. While they
can have multiple lanes, they


Roundabout Wrecks Have Engineers Going in Circles


Yield violations Lane change violations




Correct roundabout usage

Source: Deputy City Engineer, Hilliard, Ohio Vivien Ngo/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


Hospitals preparing for an
influx of coronavirus patients
are canceling some surgeries
and moving routine care to vir-
tual visits, an effort to make
room for those critically ill and
prevent infections as the global
pandemic spreads nationwide.
A growing number of hospi-
tals, including Boston’s
Brigham & Women’s Hospital,
NewYork-Presbyterian, the
main facility of the University
of California, San Francisco and
some major systems in the
hard-hit Seattle area, are start-
ing to put off surgeries that
aren’t urgent or emergencies.
In addition to freeing up capac-
ity, doctors say they don’t want
to expose patients and workers
to potential infection risk.
Some hospitals are also ask-
ing primary-care and psychia-
try patients and those who
need other routine care to use
the phone or telemedicine to
visit doctors.
“The less people we have to
bring or move around our com-
munity, the better,” said Ann
Prestipino, an executive and in-
cident commander for Massa-
chusetts General Hospital,
which Monday will begin
switching all outpatient visits

to virtual care, where possible,
and will postpone surgery that
can be delayed, at the discre-
tion of each service area. The
hospital and its clinics typically
handle one million outpatient
visits annually, she said.
Hospitals say procedures
that often can wait include
knee replacements, some gall-
bladder operations and certain
spine procedures.
Arooj Simmonds, co-execu-
tive medical director of surgical
services at Swedish hospital
system, said executives moved
Friday to broadly postpone
elective procedures as numbers

of Covid-19 patients continued
to fill beds across its five Seat-
tle-area hospitals.
“We have rooms, but if we
don’t have staff, we can’t admit
a patient to the room,” Dr. Sim-
monds said. Nurses and doctors
who worked in operating rooms
may be moved to where they
are most needed, she said.
Kaiser Permanente, the big
California-based insurer and
hospital operator, said its doc-
tors are evaluating all elective
procedures scheduled for the
next few weeks.
The Centers for Disease Con-
trol and Prevention has urged

hospitals in Santa Clara County,
Calif., three Washington coun-
ties and New Rochelle, N.Y., to
cancel nonurgent procedures.
The CDC didn’t respond to
questions on its recommenda-
tions in those communities, but
it has posted coronavirus guid-
ance for hospitals, a spokes-
woman said. The guidance calls
for hospitals to reschedule elec-
tive procedures as needed.
The U.S. surgeon general, Je-
rome Adams, tweeted Saturday
that hospitals should “consider
stopping elective procedures,”
saying surgeries could bring
the coronavirus to their facili-

ties, draw from their protective
equipment stores and tax their
Hospitals rejected wide-
spread elective cancelations in
a letter Sunday to the surgeon
general from four large hospital
associations. The letter called
for hospitals to decide locally
when and which surgeries
should be postponed, based on
the local spread of coronavirus
and urgency of various opera-
tions. “We are asking that he
clarify this,” said Rick Pollack,
president and chief executive
officer of the American Hospi-
tal Association, of the Surgeon
Dr. Adams’s tweet encour-
aged health-care facilities to
consider rescheduling nonur-
gent outpatient visits and elec-
tive surgeries, as necessary,” in
response to the pandemic, a
spokeswoman said.
Dr. Adams will work with
hospitals to relay guidance to
the sector on how to protect
communities from the virus
and minimize disruption to
routine care, the spokeswoman
Epidemiologists and infec-
tious-disease specialists warn
U.S. hospitals may not have
enough beds, equipment and
staff to care for a surge of pa-
tients in a widespread, fast-es-
calating outbreak. Hospitals’ ef-
forts to prepare have grown
more urgent in recent weeks
Hospitals could see an esti-
mated 4.8 million admissions
as the virus sweeps across the


Hospitals Put Off Some Surgeries

Facilities in hard-hit
areas look to clear
capacity for potential
surge in patients

Things to Know
Before Getting Care

Doctors and hospitals are
evaluating cancellations to dis-
tinguish between scheduled
surgery that can wait, such as
a routine screening colonoscopy
or knee replacement, and pro-
cedures that can’t, such as a
bone scan or MRI to reveal
how far cancer has progressed.
Here is what patients need
to know about how to get
health care:
1) Call and check your
health-care provider’s website
before you go to even a nor-
mal, scheduled visit. More clin-
ics are doing these virtually,
hoping to protect both patients
and employees against infec-

2) If you have a coming
procedure scheduled, and you
don’t hear from your doctor,
check to make sure it is still
happening and discuss with
your doctor whether it might
be better to delay. “The main
message is: sit tight,” said Da-
vid Battinelli, chief medical offi-
cer of Northwell Health, which
said Sunday it would begin
postponing some elective sur-
3) If your surgeon or hospi-
tal calls to inform you that
your procedure is being can-
celed, let them know if there
has been a change in your con-
dition, and ask if you need to
adjust your routine because of
the delay. “This will be a two-
way conversation,” said Dr. Bat-
4) After a procedure is de-
layed, reach out to the sur-

geon’s office if you need to. “If
the patient thinks their medical
condition is worsening, they
should call their surgeon’s of-
fice,” said Dr. John Roberts, a
transplant surgeon who helps
oversee the operating rooms at
University of California, San
Francisco’s main hospital. While
hospitals are starting to push
off procedures considered elec-
tive, urgently needed ones may
still be proceeding.
5) It probably isn’t helpful
to seek another hospital to per-
form your surgery, since in re-
gions hit by the coronavirus it
is likely they will all enforce
similar cancellation policies.
Hospitals that are deferring
procedures say they expect to
reschedule them and will clear
the backlog as quickly as possi-
ble when the coronavirus surge

Trump said he is considering a
full pardon for former national
security adviser Michael Flynn,
who pleaded guilty to lying to
the FBI about his contacts with
a top Russian official.
Mr. Trump in a tweet Sunday
criticized the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and the Justice
Department, saying they had
“destroyed” Mr. Flynn’s life, and
pointed to what he said was a
report that the agencies had
“lost” records in the case. It
wasn’t clear what report Mr.
Trump was referring to.
“I am strongly considering
a Full Pardon!” he wrote.
The White House didn’t
comment beyond the tweet,
which came as the administra-
tion continues to grapple with
the fast-moving coronavirus
emergency. The FBI and Jus-
tice Department declined to
Mr. Flynn in late 2017 ad-
mitted he misled FBI agents
about a series of calls he had
with Moscow’s ambassador to
the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, about
sanctions and a United Nations
resolution critical of Israel.
Prosecutors said Mr. Flynn
consulted with Trump transi-
tion officials on the contacts.
“I recognize that the ac-
tions I acknowledged in court
today were wrong, and,
through my faith in God, I am
working to set things right,”
Mr. Flynn said at the time.
Federal prosecutors in Jan-
uary asked a court to sentence
Mr. Flynn to up to six months
in prison, a reversal from
when the government said he
shouldn’t face incarceration
due to cooperation in the
probe into Russian interfer-
ence in the 2016 election. Mr.
Flynn sat for 19 interviews
with investigators and pro-
vided documents in several
criminal probes before the re-
lationship soured.
Mr. Flynn’s lawyers subse-
quently asked a federal judge
to allow him to withdraw his
guilty plea on a single charge
of lying to the FBI, arguing the
government had breached its
2017 plea agreement. If that
request, which is pending, is
granted, Mr. Flynn could face
—Aruna Viswanatha
contributed to this article.





For Flynn

Michael Flynn


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