TOM WARD – Docs vs. the economists

TOM WARD – Docs vs. the economists

It seems like a lifetime ago.

It was a sunny but chilled day in Orlando, and I was in line with my wife and son at the new Star Wars attraction at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. Later, we visited Epcot. Between the two parks, we probably walked past 10,000 visitors that day. It was Feb. 28, less than four weeks ago. Nobody was wearing a mask. Nobody had ever heard of “social distancing.”

With the rapid spread of Covid 19, a pandemic is now gripping the world – and Rhode Island. I’ve never seen anything like it before, and don’t know how this movie ends. Politicians will tell us “Chin up! We’re Americans!” I hope they’re right. We can be exceptional people, and so far, we have been. We are blessed to have such smart and caring health care specialists working as hard as they are, but more sacrifice may be needed.

For now, though, this is all about the cure, or at least a treatment we can all feel will stop the virus from killing us and our parents and loved ones. A vaccine, helpful in a year or two, means nothing now. We need to know in a week or two that we’ve found drugs or “cocktails” that will keep us alive, should we get very ill.

Today, the economy is suffering as people lose jobs by the millions. Airlines are crushed; hotels and restaurants sit empty. In the White House, there are reports of disagreements between the doctors and economists. Doctors want everyone to keep distance from one another, for as long as possible. Economists know the country can’t take this very long ... that even for America, the money to help the unemployed as well as keep their employers afloat will run out.

We can keep “printing money,” but not forever. Somebody has to buy our debt. Would you?

And then there is this: We don’t want to live this way. We drive. We play, we dine out. We love sports, on TV and at Little League fields. Some enjoy betting on games. We won’t sit on the sidelines indefinitely.

I have a feeling President Trump is listening to both sides, but his instincts are those of a businessman. He knows this work-less world and stay-at-home offices can’t go on for months. I wonder, too. Why are things closed in the Dakotas or Montana? Is there a middle ground in this pandemic? Yes, New York and Seattle need to shut down. But does Bozeman?

And not to drag politics into this human tragedy, but Trump knows his presidency depends on the choices he makes in the days and next few weeks ahead. He’s bet the ranch on the experiment taking place in hard-hit New York City right now. Short-term, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are the magic bullets. He needs this drug cocktail to slow the dying. Will they help?

And then there’s our state. Rhode Island will run out of money. No sales taxes, no income taxes, no open casinos. The state employees’ pension fund will now be severely stressed. Politicians won’t talk about this now as they keep hoping things improve, naturally. And I hope they do. It’s another reason we can’t stay closed for too long.

For people of faith, prayers are in order. For others like all those people I saw at Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge, “May the force be with you.” Improvement may not be as “far, far away” as it seems today.

Ward is publisher of

The Valley Breeze


I am appalled at your cavalier reference to chloroquine as a "magic bullet." A man in Arizona has died from this advice and his wife is hospitalized in critical condition, because they took an industrial and not a medical formulation of chloroquine phosphate. People with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are unable to fill legitimate, long-standing prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine because of a run on that medication, due to bad advice like yours. The only "study" that showed any effectiveness was one in France, and that was conducted by a researcher known for falsifying results, and involved a grand total of 26 patients (not a statistically significant sample, if you missed the point.)

Your calling this a "magic bullet" is not based on science and is, frankly, irresponsible.

My sentence is pretty clear. "Will they help?", I asked. I have no idea. Some people are HOPING it's a magic bullet. As for me, I hope it works. If it does, we'll all be better off. But what do I know? What does Trump know? Not much. We test, and we hope. That's all. I was pretty clear.

I admit I'm not an editor or publisher, but you wrote a short, simple declarative sentence: "Short-term, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are the magic bullets." This is false. If you meant "Trump hopes that..." or "I wish that..." then that's what you should have written. Chloroquine has killed a man in Arizona who listened to Trump. Please don't add to that death toll.

“Trump reportedly called former Yankees player Alex Rodriguez to ask for his thoughts on handling the coronavirus outbreak” - Business Insider, 3/28/20

Apparently, steroids fight the coronavirus.

that fool took a product used to kill parasites on aquarium fish. It also specifically states on the product "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION".