Viruses are not a new thing… remember the polio virus?

With another virus making headlines in the news recently, we recognize that viruses are not a new thing. However, some of us forget the virility they can have and become complacent until another one surfaces. For example, do you remember the MERS virus?  It is sometimes referred to as the camel flu since it originated in Saudi Arabia. The MERS virus started in 2012 and spread to several countries including the United States.

Today we are reminded of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus because the recent Coronavirus belongs to a large family of viruses with 80% of its genetic make-up originating from the SARS virus. The SARS pandemic of 2002 started in February and lasted about 6 months. It originated in China and quickly spread to more than 2 dozen countries including North America, South America and Asia before ending in 2003.

Dr. Peter Lin, a highly regarded family physician from Toronto, who is often interviewed on CBC morning Radio, had this advice regarding the Coronavirus – along with the usual ways of protecting yourself from contracting the virus – washing your hands is very important, keeping your hands away from your face is just as important or even more so.

Going back even further in time, some of you, like myself, may remember and were even affected by the poliovirus. Since we seldom hear about it any more, we often forget about the lives it took and the people disabled by it before Dr. Jonas Salk and his team developed the polio vaccine. That was a day of celebration as people had lived in fear of contracting polio as the cause and means of contracting the virus were not known.

My short novel, Grounded is about how three best friends deal with being grounded as they were not allowed to have any fun because of all the things they were not allowed to do during those polio summers. You also find out how they pulled together as a team and how polio affected their friendship. To learn about this and much more, my activity book which compliments the novel is full of facts about the polio epidemic and the politics of the 50s era during which time the story takes place.

I would love to hear your stories if you, too, remember! And kids, you might like to make Dr. Salk’s Favourite Strawberry Pie or the Get Better Brownies (recipes included at the back of the activity book) or do any of the many other different activities.

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