It started in mid-March when the COVID-19 epidemic was obviously going to impact the United States and San Francisco became the first major US city to shut down. I was researching Pandemics and Quarantines. At the time – mid-March - there was no reference to COVID-19 at all. That has certainly changed now. Interestingly, what primarily came up were references to polio. Polio has plagued humans for thousands of years. The great Polio epidemic in the US occurred from 1916-1955
Polio is a viral disease that affects the nervous system, causing paralysis. It spreads through direct contact with people who have the infection. Outbreaks occurred regularly in the United States through the 1950s, with two major polio outbreaks in 1916 and in 1952. Of the 57,628 reported cases in 1952, there were 3,145 deaths.
In 1955, Dr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine was approved. It was quickly adopted throughout the world. By 1962, the average number of cases dropped to 910. The CDCTrusted Source reports that the United States has been Polio-free since 1979. Europe since 2002. But it still persists in small numbers today.
In 1941 my dad contracted Polio. He was 7. His younger brother, my uncle Dick, was only 5. I spoke to my dad and my uncle Dick about their memories of that time and their insights. The conversation took some turns as you’ll see as these sons remembered their parents, and in particular, their father. My grandfather as you will soon discover was someone very special.
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