Category Archives: Health Care

A.H. Scott: 100,000+

Deaths from Covid-19



Text by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2020




Oh, I’m sorry if the number crimps your style
They are just souls of the departed
Oh yeah, just statistics in a ledger that runs red with their blood and our salty tears
We won’t forget them
Yet, you never acknowledge their existence
Let that number sink in for a while!
They’re gone now, but that’s not why you have a furrowed brow
Banner of best econ in history has dissipated from your craven clasp
Even as each one of them take their final gasp
Efficiency experts in Hades tout the time is right to kick open the doors of business to start the machine of industry again
Referencing the workforce as human capital stock, those in towers of ivory frivolously mock
Lessening this tragedy in terms of decimals and cents
Nary is a word of lament
Push, push, push won’t be easy for all of us to heed
Cynics might scoff at the naked two-step of greed
100,000 lives and counting
Coronavirus’ toll is mounting
Keepin’ your distance is what the Docs say
Yet, all which any of us can do when they slip away is pray
Covering one’s face assists in mitigation
But, some think they are above the fray of the citizenry to lead by example
They get on television and preen and pout their bleached vision
Yeah, that is a quantity
But, damnit it’s more than that – its’ human quality
Quality of flesh, blood, dreams and life were theirs once
Now, we who remain can’t even kiss their foreheads to say a final goodbye
They are not digits crimping a bureaucrat’s agenda
All they were we can remember
Beyond the spotlight that certain persons straddle with such soulless desperation
The souls of these Americans exhibit lives lived and loved to those touched by them
Less than a quarter of a year has amassed a horrendous record that some are attempting to ignore
Optics of the obvious tide of sorrow cannot be wished away
Closing one’s eyes and acting as if what’s happening exposes that rotten core
Turn the page and reopen America to make it yesterday once more
But, not this time
Bluebird bluster and any prophylactic concoction you can muster will not keep the spirits of 100,000 coming within a grasped few winks in your nightmare’s view
In day, in night the fallen will forever follow you
Even with the hallowed position you were entrusted with, you haven’t a clue
Who were they?
They are us
Who are we?
We are the bullhorn of their memory never to be silenced  
About The Author: A.H. Scott is a poet based in New York City and frequent contributor to Tony Ward Studio. To read additional articles by Ms. Scott, go here:
Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, History, Politics, Popular Culture, Science, Travel, Women

Bob Shell: Meditations on Pandemics


Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020


I was reading an article last night in THE WEEK, my trusted weekly news magazine, about the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. No one is alive today who remembers that pandemic, but the historical records exist, and the parallels to today are strong. Like the current Coronavirus that is causing so much havoc in the world, Spanish Flu was a novel virus to which no one had natural immunity. And, like today, weird rumors circulated. One was that the Spanish Flu was artificially introduced by German spies who sneaked into the U.S. aboard U-boats.

Some major cities in the U.S. shut down everything when Spanish Flu arrived, and did well. Philadelphia refused to cancel their war parade, which was held on September 28, 1918. A crowd of over 200,000 packed the streets and cheered. Within three days, every hospital bed in Philadelphia’s 31 hospitals was filled. Within a week 45,000 people were diagnosed with the disease and the city belatedly shut down. But the shutdown was too late, the damage already done. By the second week of November, 12,000 people were dead, just in Philadelphia! Bodies “were stacked like cordwood.”. Public health nurses walked into tenements and found whole families dead. Bodies were piled up on sidewalks after the morgue filled and shut down. Within six months, 16,000 were dead, and half a million sick in Philadelphia alone. By the time the Spanish Flu played out, more than 675,000 people were dead in the United States.

Researchers have found that cities that acted early and aggressively, quarantining the sick, and shutting down schools, churches, theaters, and other public places, saw 50% lower death rates. Milwaukee, which acted early and aggressively, had a death rate of only 0.6 %, the lowest of any U.S. city. St. Louis, which cancelled its parade had a death rate one-eighth that of Philadelphia.

This reinforces the fact that reopening the economy now, which Mr. Trump and most politicians seem to want, may be a terrible mistake.

A study published this year on the 1918 pandemic shows that “cities that acted early and aggressively to impose social distancing to limit the spread of Spanish Flu actually performed better economically after the pandemic was over than those that did not.” Fewer workers had died and the local economies bounced back sooner.

Here in Virginia, our Governor, who is a medical doctor, has faced intense political pressure for insisting on keeping restrictions in place until July, but I think he has made the right decisions, based on medical reality and not political expediency.

Some places like Singapore and Hong Kong, where restrictions were relaxed early, have seen rebounding infection rates. Others, like Taiwan and South Korea, who kept restrictions in place longer, have fared much better, with exceptionally low infection rates.

Where did this damned virus come from? The highly respected British medical journal, The Lancet, says evidence that it came from the Huanan Seafood Market is “shaky,” and points to the nearby virology lab, which had already been criticized for inadequate protective measures, and speculates that the virus escaped the lab through poor waste disposal or in the body of an infected lab worker. If it came from that government lab, responsibility for this plague must rest solely on the shoulders of the Chinese government, which should be made to take full responsibility for the economic havoc it has caused.

Meanwhile, the King of Thailand is riding out the pandemic in a German luxury hotel, where he is ensconced with his twenty concubines. Must be nice to be a king!


About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. He is serving the 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here:


Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Environment, Friends of TWS, History, Men, News, Politics, Popular Culture, Science, Travel

Huiping Tina Zhong: Captivity

Photography and Text by Huiping Tina Zhong, Copyright 2020




I have been following the update of the COVID-19 crisis since the very beginning when it was first discovered in China. Because I’m a Chinese international student, I’ve been worrying about my family and friends back home, although I did not expect that crisis to hit the US so soon and so hard, given that there were plentiful time for the government to execute precautions since the breakout in China in early January. I was in immense frustration, anger and sadness for the beginning of the social isolation period, yet now that intense emotions have passed, I’m increasingly aware of the fact that I’m not only physically trapped in my tiny apartment, but also am emotionally trapped in my lack of motivation and in my lethargy. Many have encouraged the public to face the current crisis with a positive attitude, yet it occurred to me that it was important to ponder negative feelings. Pondering and taking in these sensations in isolation is not only important for personal development, but also necessary for the progress of a society. Therefore, I shot these series of 24 pictures in my apartment to sit with the self that feels trapped.

When one is trapped, the positive thing is that one actually gets to spend more time with objects and self. As one observes the quotidian objects from different angles, the structures of these objects start to deconstruct. As their geometrical and linear structures get foregrounded, objects lose their identities while acquiring new poetic sensibilities. 


About The Author:  Huiping Tina Zhong is a senior majoring in Art History at Bryn Mawr College. To access additional articles by Huiping Tina Zhong, click here:


Also posted in Art, Blog, Cameras, commentary, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, Haverford College, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, Women

Cincy Ji: The Night Playground


Photography and Text by Cindy Ji, Copyright 2020


The Night Playground: Where do Children Play?


The Night Playground series was born in the midst of the global pandemic outbreak. In the presence of travel restrictions and social distancing, the series of 24 pictures represents a glimpse of the worldwide situation that I experienced in Sejong, a South Korean city. Sejong is a city in progress, oriented to attract government officials and young parents. It was built to ease over population in Seoul, the national capital. So, I was able to witness the different ways in which people interacted with each other due to the outbreak of COVID-19. One of the major things that I noticed was the children. The city stopped bustling with children running and playing, and the playground was mostly left alone. Even though spring came and flowers were blooming, the city was still as if no one lived there. However, the hints of life and resilience of families, were seen in motion. Many families wore masks to walk their dog, play with their children, and to go for a short walk at night to a get some fresh air while being safe. The unprecedented global outbreak has altered the ways in which we live at the moment. I hope all of us to be safe and to beat the outbreak all together.


Cindy Ji will be a senior in the fall of this year at Bryn Mawr College.  Class if 2921. To access additional articles by Cindy Ji, click here



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Bob Shell: In the Midst of This Covid-19

Caged Kingdom: Website For Prison Inmates. Bob Shell on left.



Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020


In the Midst of This Covid-19


I’m in good health right now except for arthritis, for which there is not yet a cure. In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been listening to the politicians jawboning endlessly about what good jobs they’re doing, which makes me suspicious that they aren’t really doing such a hot job. Because I’m right on the border between Virginia and West Virginia, I’ve heard the press conferences by the governors of both states, as well as the pontifications of our fearless leader, President Trump. It’s interesting that our Virginia Governor is painting an upbeat picture, while his counterpart in West Virginia is painting one of doom and gloom, sounding like the captain of the Titanic addressing his passengers as the ship was sinking. Meanwhile Mr. Trump keeps saying, “We gotta get back to work.” Yes, we do, but China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and others are dealing with resurgences of the virus for relaxing restrictions too soon. I’ve listened carefully to Trump’s TV speeches, and I have to wonder if it was a slip of the tongue when he called the pandemic “artificially engineered.” Does he know something he’s not supposed to tell us?

I’ve always hated neckties, so I was delighted when our Virginia Governor, who I believe is a medical doctor, said people should not wear them, and cited a study that found that neckties harbor lots of disease germs. Down with neckties!

Here at Pocahontas State Correctional Center (PSCC) we have no cases of COVID-19 — yet. But, even though we’re on lockdown, staff still come and go freely. We’ve been given “Sneeze Guards” and required to wear them, even though they are not PPE grade masks, and accomplish nothing. Trump said wearing them was voluntary for “all Americans,” but we’re being required to wear them. I guess we’re not Americans. Mine restricts my breathing so much that I become lightheaded after half an hour and have to take the damned thing off.

People have asked me about my court cases. Unfortunately, they’re all on indefinite hold until this crisis is over. So is my review for geriatric parole, scheduled originally for March.

All courts in Virginia are closed for the duration, all court deadlines frozen, and the parole board is not meeting.

I have five active court cases right now in four different courts: My federal civil rights case against the Virginia Department of corrections (Federal District Court), two state mandamus actions to force the judge who convicted me to rule on my actions to vacate my convictions (Virginia Supreme Court), and two separate cases to get my forest land back (two different circuit courts). Nothing can happen on any of these cases until the courts reopen. And when they do reopen they’ll have a tremendous backlog to overcome. So, as a result, all of my plans are on hold indefinitely.

There’s been talk of releasing older prisoners to some sort of house arrest, but, so far, it’s just talk. Many of the men here could be released today and pose no threat to their communities. Some, like me, were never any threat to our communities in the first place. If I walked out the prison gates today, not a single person would be at risk from me.

Take a look at my profile on, a new ‘social media’ site for prisoners. I had to use an old photo because our picture taking.service here is shut down right now. I’ll replace it with a current photo when I can get one taken, but no one knows when that will be.

I’ve always thought we lose print media at our peril. The ‘press’ has been vitally important to our freedom since the founding of our experiment in democracy.

One of my oldest friends just told me that The Roanoke Times has furloughed about 25% of their staff. That’s terrible!

As many know, I considered it an act of unbridled idiocy when the latest owners shut down the print version of SHUTTERBUG, where I’d worked for so many years, because they claimed with ‘only’ 100,000 subscribers they could not make a profit! What nonsense! For most of its life, SHUTTERBUG had fewer than 100,000 subscribers, and made the owner rich. Now they’ve shut down the online version, too! How do people with so little business sense end up owning magazines, and why? That magazine was near and dear to my heart, and it hurts me terribly to see it trashed by people who never should have been allowed to own it.

Anyone who has ever been in jail or prison will tell you the most important thing is having a good ‘cellie,’ (jailhouse slang for cellmate). Right now I have the very best! And that’s making this lockdown tolerable. He’s a gentle soul, a victim of police entrapment. Police should not be allowed to entice people into breaking laws, then bust them when they do. That’s simply not American, not justice. I know! They tried to do it to me. I’ll tell that story another time.

Although you cannot mail me pictures anymore, a company called Pelipost has made it possible again. You email them digital files, they print high quality 4 X 6 prints and mail them to me. It works great! I love receiving pictures!

I can be reached by regular mail at:

Robert Shell # 1201280


P.O. Box 518

Pocahontas, VA 24635-0518


About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. He is serving the 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here:


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