So no one see's this as a result of the 787 and MAX debacles, and I do not mean the crashes but the design issues?
Why would engineers pay the price when management sets priorities. Let's spend 95% of design money and time on 777X and patch up something to push MAX into service quickly.
Yes, design issues are a part of this. Based on what I know of aircraft structural assembly considerations, including shimming, I strongly suspect the shimming issues on the 787 are more about design, in particular on the manufacturing engineering side, than about the mechanics. A see a lot of people involved in discussions about this clearly speaking without experience planning work in tightly controlled manufacturing environments who are happy to just blame the assembly workers, but I'm certain the reality is more complicated than that.
If a mechanic installs something not per the instructions, measures a gap wrong, leaves something out, fails to report a discrepancy, does not clean FOD, etc, that is indeed a workmanship issue.
If their drawings, instructions, procedures, etc. don't give them enough detail about how a part fits in, where and how to measure, what to inspect for discrepancies, when to inspect for FOD, that is a planning or engineering issue. If a machine, even when properly operated, does not produce the intended design tolerance, that's an issue either an unrealistic tolerance by the design engineer, or deficient equipment from the engineers who designed that (unless it is caused by mistakes by the workers who maintain the equipment). The details Boeing has provided about the current fuselage shimming issues strongly suggest to me engineering challenges.
To be fair to the engineers, having had to deal myself with tolerance stackups and methods of accounting for them in design and assembly, what I have read about the issue sounds like to-be-expected teething pains from a new approach to trying to deal with a difficult manufacturing challenge, and a miss on the interaction between two separate discrepancies.
The MCAS design issues are currently subject to a criminal investigation, and we won't hear anything about individual responsibility unless and until anyone is charged with a crime. It is certainly possible for an engineer, especially one responsible for final signoff, to be charged with negligence if they did not do something they had a professional obligation to do or if they hid any information. And it is certainly possible for a manager to be charged with negligence if they pressured engineers to make bad decision, and that goes doubly so for any engineer with designated FAA responsibilities.
A lot of computer modeling can also be done via WFH now. Washington has also been on full lockdown for much of 2020, and is a relatively totalitarian state as far as enforcement.
Washington has never been on full lockdown. There were 4 weeks in March where the state was mostly locked down, but it was less restrictive than what some other states and many nations were doing at roughly the same time, and certainly not for most of the year.
There have continued to be quite a few activity restrictions of course, at times severely impacting numerous businesses. I seem to recall Boeing was declared essential at some point, so even though they kept their factories closed during the 4 week state lockdown, I think they could have opened earlier if they had wanted to insist the workforce come onsite while the rest of the state was locked down.