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COVID-19 v. polio

What if we had fought the polio virus the way we are fighting COVID-19? I was a little kid in the early 1950’s and my parents, along with all other parents, were terrified of polio.

In the summer of 1916, there was a massive polio outbreak in New York City which left 2,000 dead and many more paralyzed. Every summer for decades afterward, there were outbreaks in American cities. All the while, collective efforts globally continued searching for treatments and cures. Finally in 1955 Dr. Jonas Salk announced that an effective vaccine was ready.

I couldn’t tell you for sure what grade I was in, second or third maybe. My parents signed a permission slip and all of us, everyone of us, lined up in the school gym for our shot. It was free. One of the first public comments made by HHS secretary and former pharmaceutical lobbyist Alex Azar was that probably not everyone would be able to afford a COVID-19 vaccine.

Our parents were grateful, thankful, relieved. No one thought it was an experiment in mind control.

Look around. How many Americans do you see using canes, crutches, wheelchairs because they have polio? Do you even know one person who had polio?

We have been asked to do the most simple things to protect ourselves from COVID-19 while science works toward understanding and ultimately conquering this disease. It’s annoying but not difficult. What have you got to loose? Oh yeah, your life.

LINDA SPENCER

Covington

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom

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