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Editorial: Remembering polio

More than one person has told us or written to us that the quest to stop COVID-19 reminds them of the days that polio stalked the land, causing dread whenever it neared a community.

Until the Salk vaccine became available in 1955 and the Sabin vaccine a bit later, there was little that families could do to prevent infection other than to stay away from places it was prevalent. Sound familiar?

Some families went to the country. Others kept their children from swimming pools.

The paralyzing disease was a Bridezilla of the medical world, terrorizing all who encountered it. The disease was always accompanied by its maid of honor named Fear.

Indeed, old newspapers in our files indicate something of the atmosphere of dread and helplessness. From the Mathews Journal, 1916: Two polio cases in Middlesex. From the Gloucester Gazette, 1935: Polio rumors are false. From the Gazette-Journal, 1944: Physicians say to keep children home to avoid polio. Polio case at Hayes Store. Polio cas...

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