The early 20th century was a very dangerous time for people with polio. While the disease rarely manifested itself in people in the latter part of the century, it took the lives of more than 100 Americans a year in the early part of the 20th century.
One of the major reasons for this was the lack of any effective treatment at the time. People with polio were usually isolated from society because, at least in the eyes of others, they were either crippled or sickly. Not all of them were isolated, as there were organizations such as the March of Dimes that helped people with polio find social opportunities. However, people with polio were not always accepted, and sometimes even shunned, by society.
One of the worst affected areas during this time was the United States. The devastating effect that the epidemic had on the country is shown by the fact that it not only caused the death of thousands but also led to the complete reshaping of the United States. Before the death of the century, the United States would undergo a major transformation, with most of the population moving from the rural South to the rapidly expanding North. This is most likely because people in the rural areas of the country did not have the money to travel to the cities, where jobs were available. One major consequence of this was that people of different races and ethnicities got together and started performing plays and concerts. This is most likely because the theater owners did not want to lose their audience during the times when the epidemic was at its peak. Theaters were also opened to the general public during this time, with major cultural events such as the Midsummer Night’s Dream being held.
This was certainly a dark time for people with polio, but there were also a number of heroes that rose above the disease. One of the most recognizable faces is that of President Woodrow Wilson. As the New York Times reported in a 2016 article, Wilson, who suffered from the effects of polio as a child, “wasn’t always at the forefront of public consciousness,” but “[his] indomitable spirit and optimistic worldview helped him surmount the many obstacles that lay in his path.”
While Wilson battled polio for most of his life, he was finally able to walk with the help of a cane. The Times wrote that even after he became president, he continued to be affected by the disease and was forced to modify his stride. The Times added that, throughout his life, Wilson “continued to be a champion of the underprivileged, whether it was addressing the hunger of poor children, protecting the rights of labor unions or championing the cause of African-Americans.”
However, the most well-known story regarding President Wilson and polio does not have a happy ending. The Times wrote that the worst of the epidemic hit the White House during Wilson’s second term in office. Between 1914 and 1916, there were reportedly 25,000 cases in the United States. In one particularly horrifying incident, a polio epidemic broke out at the White House during a reception for Colored American Nurses. While some accounts say that the epidemic did not spread beyond the White House, the fear that it could spread still hung over the entire country.
Which Baseball Star Was Banned Because of Betting?
While there were a number of famous faces that lost the use of a limb or joints to polio, there is only one baseball player that, at least in the eyes of the public, had polio and then decided to focus on his sport. That man is Walter Johnson, who played for a number of teams in his day, most notably the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox. The Red Sox actually cut him from the team in 1908, but he spent the next three years playing in the Minor Leagues.
For whatever reason, in 1911 the White Sox brought Johnson up to the Major Leagues. That year, he appeared in 83 games, hitting a remarkable.320/.372/.556 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs. Unfortunately, this was also one of the worst years in White Sox history, as they finished last in the eight-team American League with a record of 41-63.
In 1912, the White Sox finished last in the eight-team American League for the second straight year, and Johnson decided enough was enough. He retired from baseball and returned to the more comfortable life of a full-time student. However, it was not long before baseball came calling again when the Federal League was formed in June 1913.
The Federal League was, in many ways, a revival of sorts for baseball. The new league officially began play the following month, with many of the same teams that had competed in the Minor Leagues in the previous year. The difference was that the teams in the Federal League were owned and operated by actual ballplayers and not by investors. Johnson was one of the first players signed by the Boston Club, which would eventually become the Boston Braves.
In 1914, the 22-year-old Johnson had one of the best years of his life, hitting.331/.389/.596 with 16 home runs and 82 RBIs in only 109 games. The following year, he had another excellent season, hitting.331/.404/.607 with 17 home runs and 85 RBIs in only 107 games. These were the best two years of Johnson’s career, and he put together an amazing five-year stretch, winning a major award for the best rookie in the American League in 1914 and being named an All-Star in each of his final four seasons.
The Importance of Polio Immunizations
Since people with polio were unable to work or go to school, they had plenty of time to spend in bed, which is probably why many buildings from that time have fire exits instead of corridors. Fire exits were not always a safe alternative for those with walking difficulties, and sometimes they had to be reopened or reworked to accommodate people with special needs.
This is why it’s so important that children are immunized against polio. As the New York Times reports, since the early 2000s, only three cases of polio have been reported in New York City, compared to more than 600 in the 1960s. While cases of polio have decreased overall in the United States, it still exists and can strike anyone, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
The Times also reported that vaccines have led to an overall decline in the number of people contracting polio. This is why it’s so important for parents to have their children immunized. Some estimates say that if every country in the world vaccinated their children, the global disease count could be reduced by more than 95%.
Since the early 2000s, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that all children be vaccinated, with the first dose administered between the ages of 6-8 weeks. The second dose is usually given between the ages of 3-4 years, with the third between the ages of 9-10 years. Some doctors recommend that adults also receive a booster shot every five years, to ensure that their bodies still produce antibodies against the polio virus. People who were born during the 1980s may never have been exposed to the virus, as it was mostly eradicated in the United States by the end of that decade. This is why it’s important for adults to get their booster shots even if they were born before the invention of vaccines.
However, while polio has been found in just three countries, the disease has also taken hold in a number of others, most notably Vietnam. As of June 2016, there were still cases of polio reported in Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Cameroon. More disturbingly, there have been reports of the disease spreading to areas where vaccination against it was not previously practiced. This is why it’s still so important to be fully immunized, regardless of where you were born or which country you currently reside in. It’s also why it’s so important to keep track of where you were born and the country you traveled to when you were younger. Depending on where you’ve been and what has happened, you may be at risk of becoming ill with polio. This is a disease that still haunts the world today, and one which we, as an intelligent and conscious species, can absolutely eradicate once and for all.