Letter: Take it from someone who knows polio

Home Opinion Letter: Take it from someone who knows polio

“Stupid is as Stupid Does,” said Forest Gump.

“Before you heal someone, ask him if he is willing to give up the things that made him sick,” wrote Hippocrates.

Glancing over the Charlotte News a front pages headings “Will we lose our Summer“ brought back not so fond memories where in my youth we did lose our summers where late summer was dubbed “polio season” where swimming pools, summer camps, religious Sunday Schools were closed and movie theater patrons were asked not to sit close to each other. It was a virus which was inscribed in a 3,000-year-old Egyptian stele which fell thousands, it had no cure and no treatment and particularly attacked children. No it was not the eon curse typhus, cholera, scarlet fever, diphtheria, pertussis and measles which kills hundreds of thousand people; it was called Infantile Paralysis or Poliomyelitis-polio! It put fear into parents as a 1952 survey found that Americans feared only nuclear annihilation more than polio because of the random pattern the disease struck made parents hopeless as there was no cure. There was no knowledge how it spread, developed nor how to treat it! In the fall of 1952 I as a first grade elementary student became one of the 21, 269 reported mild to disabling paralysis of the 1952 World Polio Epidemic, the worst outbreak in our county’s history where there was over 57,628 case reported with 3,145 death. World wide it is beyond the scope of this document. Let me say present day Covid 19 (Chinese Virus) which resembles my narrative does not match the numbers to the virus which surfaced in the early 1900’s where in the 1940’s and 1950’s reached epidemic proportions. Between 1916 the year of my father’s birth to 1954 at least one polio epidemic was present in the summer of our country. Prior to 1955 wide scale vaccination against this very highly contagious disease we were taught the four don’ts—Don’t get chilled, over tired, mix with new groups and do keep clean. Wear facial coverage. Sounds like present day Covid 19 (Chinese Virus). One last tidbit. Flu and Tuberculosis then and now kill more people than Covid 19. In the 1885 typhoid/cholera epidemic 90,000 died in Chicago. The past several Covid 19 months I have seen similarities as the world deals with the Covid 19. We wear facial coverage, keep social distance, wash our hands and practice isolation. We have death and recovery without a cure. What is lacking compared to my youth is the lack of respect for the Covid 19. I see parents with their very young children in public places not wearing a facial coverage. I see adults not protecting their children let along themselves while away from the relative safety of their home. I see and hear the dissent toward those who are frantically trying to control Covid19. Finally, I see a nation where they think of themselves and their pleasures over the interest of others. Who would think toilet paper would become a Wall Street commodity? Covid19 (Chinese Virus) whatever you call it is here to stay. The biblical saying “am I my brother keeper” and Gump’s “stupid is as stupid does” is a reality of your lifestyle.


John Harry




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