I’ve stayed away from writing to you about the COVID-19 virus because there is so much more information out there and I don’t have anything scientific to add.
We’ve all developed new habits and learned to appreciate staying at home.
I try to keep in touch with church friends by telephone and by jotting a few lines on an old-fashioned post card. They are no longer a penny but at least you don’t have to lick the flap of an envelope and try to create enough interesting things to take up a whole sheet of paper.
Most people are learning to read again and exploring new television channels.
We’ve learned to shop by phone and have groceries and meals delivered to our cars. Some churches have drive-in services. You have to wear your mask everywhere.
Having the vaccine available gives people something new to fuss about.
Finding a pharmacy or supplier for the shot has become the modern version of an old scavenger hunt with a time limit.
Store clinics either had the vaccine or will have it in the future, but nobody has it right now.
The last time we went through something like this, those of us “of a certain age” were children and the polio epidemic swept the country in the mid-century.
Polio is caused by a virus and there is still no cure, but vaccines are available.
There was so little information on living safely from polio that our parents kept us at home and made us take naps.
Polio created some scary summers because kids were out of school and wanted to be together but we couldn’t and didn’t understand why.
There were patients with impaired respiratory systems in “iron lungs.” These things look like iron coffins with windows and worked by creating low air pressure inside where the patient was lying prone.
Some hospitals had rooms full of the things and some were hauled around on trucks so people could see them in action. It wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t meant to be: It was meant to be educational.
The similarity between COVID-19 and polio is “fear.” You can’t tell who is infected by looking at them so you stay away from everyone.
Georgia was at the point of polio rehabilitation at Warm Springs, where President Roosevelt built a cottage called “The Little White House” and died there.
Unlike today, the search for an effective vaccine took decades. Eventually, Dr. Jonas Salk and his staff at the University of Pittsburgh started a trial in Virginia in 1954.
I think we all look forward to COVID-19 going the way of polio. The last number of infections for polio I could find was for 2018 with 33 infections worldwide.
I think we could all live with that.